Gates Research Institute Initiates Phase 3 Trial For TB Vaccine Candidate


Mar 20, 2024

The Bill & Melinda Gates Medical Research Institute, on Tuesday, announced the commencement of a Phase 3 clinical trial to assess the efficacy of the M72/AS01E tuberculosis vaccine candidate with the first doses to be given in South Africa, where TB takes a heavy toll.

If shown to be well-tolerated and effective, the vaccine could potentially become the first vaccine to help prevent pulmonary TB in adolescents and adults and become the first new TB vaccine in over a century.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Medical Research Institute is a non-profit dedicated to developing and deploying new biomedical interventions for global health challenges including malaria, tuberculosis, and maternal and child health issues.

According to the World Health Organisation, about 10.6 million people had TB in 2022 and 1.3 million died, globally.

This implies that over 3,500 people died per day of the disease.

The WHO Global TB Report 2021 states that Nigeria has the highest number of TB cases in Africa and accounts for 4.6 per cent of the global TB burden.

TB is an infectious disease caused by a bacterium called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. It affects the lungs and other parts of the body and it is transmitted when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
Read Also Again, Network Disruption Grips Nigeria
TB is predominant in low and middle-income countries, and those at the highest risk are often steep in poverty, with poor living and working conditions, and suffer from undernutrition.

Ahead of World Tuberculosis Day on March 24, a representative of the WHO, Dr Amos Omoniyi, called for more funding to tackle the disease burden in Nigeria.

In a statement sent to PUNCH Healthwise by the African Media Agency, the CEO of the Gates MRI, Emilio Emini, said that the launch of the trial was a demonstration of harnessing the power of medical innovation to fight diseases like TB.
Read Also Importers Incur More Charges As Subsea Cables Damaged Trap Cargoes At Seaports
Emini added, “Clinical study of the vaccine will still require years, but our incredible partners in South Africa and elsewhere who have come together for the Phase 3 study share our hope in the vaccine’s potential.”

The M72/AS01E vaccine candidate has been in development since the early 2000s.

The statement further reads, “It was originally designed and clinically evaluated by the biopharma company GlaxoSmithKline up to the proof-of-concept phase (Phase 2b), in partnership with Aeras and the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) and was funded by GSK and in part by the Gates Foundation. In 2020, GSK announced a partnership with the Gates MRI for further development of M72/AS01E. GSK continues to provide technical assistance to the Gates MRI, supplies the adjuvant component of the vaccine for the Phase 3 trial and will provide the adjuvant post-licensure should the trial be successful. An adjuvant is an ingredient used in some vaccines that can help create a stronger immune response.”

The Gates MRI has worked with a wide range of stakeholders, including communities around clinical trial sites, to guide the TB candidate vaccine to Phase 3.

It added that the Gates MRI, GSK, Wellcome and the Gates Foundation are working together to understand the potential demand for the vaccine and build an end-to-end plan to ensure long-term sustainable access when the trial is successful.
Read Also Osun Online Publishers Inaugurates New Executive
Director of Maternal and Child Health at Wits RHI, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa, and National Principal Investigator for the trial in South Africa, Dr Lee Fairlie, also said, “Reaching Phase 3 with an urgently needed TB vaccine candidate is an important moment for South Africans because it demonstrates that there is a strong local and global commitment to fight a disease that remains distressingly common in our communities.

“South Africa also has considerable experience with TB- and vaccine-related clinical trials and a strong track record for protecting patient safety and generating high-quality data essential for regulatory approvals.”

The trial will include up to 20,000 participants, including people living with HIV, at up to 60 trial sites in seven countries — South Africa, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, Kenya, Indonesia and Vietnam.

The statement further noted that the participants will receive either the investigational M72/AS01E vaccine or a placebo in what is known as a double-blind trial, meaning neither the trial participant nor the clinical investigators will know who receives the vaccine or placebo.

This approach is considered the gold standard for evaluating the safety and efficacy of an investigational vaccine.

Also, the CEO of ViiV Healthcare and President of Global Health, GSK, Deborah Waterhouse, said, “After dedicating over 20 years to developing this essential candidate vaccine, we at GSK are delighted that the Phase 3 trial is underway. Developing and ensuring access to global health products is complex but our collaboration with the Gates MRI, Wellcome and the Gates Foundation exemplifies the transformative power of leveraging diverse partners’ expertise to change the trajectory of challenging diseases, like TB, which place a huge burden on communities around the world.”

The statement further noted that while TB is one of the world’s deadliest infectious diseases and the leading cause of death amongst people living with HIV, the only available TB vaccine, BCG, dates back to 1921.

It further stated that it protects babies and young children against severe forms of TB, but offers inadequate protection for adolescents and adults against the pulmonary form of the disease, which is primarily responsible for the transmission of the TB bacterium.

Credit Punch

WP2Social Auto Publish Powered By :