Aeras recently announced the publication of primary results from the ongoing phase IIb clinical trial of GSK’s M72/AS01E candidate vaccine in the New England Journal of Medicine. This analysis shows that M72/AS01E significantly reduced the incidence of pulmonary tuberculosis disease in HIV-negative adults who were already infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb).
With this study, Aeras and partners have made a true breakthrough in TB vaccine development, showing that more effective vaccines against TB are achievable. The results highlight the importance of investing in new tools to fight the world’s leading infectious disease killer and the power of collaborative efforts among industry leaders, nonprofits, clinical sites and communities in developing new interventions against a global health threat.
The news has energized the TB vaccine field – which has seen few major developments in the past 100 years – and provides the larger TB community with hope for TB prevention tools that have the potential to end TB for good. In an accompanying editorial, Dr. Barry Bloom noted that the results “reinforce the importance of international collaborations, set the stage for testing additional candidates, and offer renewed hope that effective new vaccines can be developed for tuberculosis." In an interview with The Telegraph, Mike Turner, head of infection and immunobiology at the Wellcome Trust, said: "This new vaccine is a landmark moment in the effort to make progress against a global killer."
It is now more important than ever to keep the momentum going. We are calling on global leaders at the UN High Level Meeting on TB to recognize the urgent need for investment in TB vaccine research and development. We will not stop this epidemic without new, more effective TB vaccines—and the political commitment to make those innovations possible.