Clinical trial will test novel inhaled TB vaccine

Doctor looks at x-ray of the lungs

A new study will compare whether giving tuberculosis vaccine by inhalation is better at protecting against tuberculosis (TB) than injection into the skin.

The Jenner Institute at the University of Oxford is conducting the study using Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG), the current licensed vaccine against TB.

As the natural route of infection with TB is through inhalation of droplets into the lungs, it is hoped that delivering BCG by the same route will be more effective at stimulating the immune system.

Professor Helen McShane, Chief Investigator, TB Vaccine Trials Jenner Institute, University of Oxford, said: “TB kills more people than any other infectious disease and we urgently need better vaccines. This important new study will help us to see whether giving BCG more than once stimulates a stronger immune response and whether giving it by inhalation is better than giving it into the skin. Small studies like these are really important to help us understand the immune response in people and allow us to design and test better vaccines.”

The study will also explore whether giving people with type 2 diabetes BCG in the skin stimulates as strong an immune response as giving BCG in the skin to healthy people without diabetes. People with type 2 diabetes are more likely to get TB and part of this may be because the BCG vaccine does not work as well in this group.

TB remains one of the top 10 causes of death worldwide, and the largest infectious killer.  BCG is the only vaccine currently licenced for use against TB, but it is not always protective. The BCG vaccine works well against disease in childhood, but it is not good enough at protecting against disease in adulthood, which is when the majority of TB deaths occur.

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