SATVI's Vaccine trial shows promise

12 May 2008

Associate Professor Willem Hanekom of the Medical School's Institute of Infectious Diseases and Molecular Medicine attended at tuberculosis conference in Atlanta, USA to present a progress update from a local tuberculosis vaccine study.

Hanekom attended the conference, titled Tuberculosis Vaccines for the World, as the head of UCT's African Tuberculosis Vaccine Initiative (SATVI) delegation to present results thus far of Phase I study, conducted at SATVI's Worcester study site since May 2007. Hanekom described the results as "very encouraging".

Preliminary data shows that the candidate vaccine, known as AERAS-402/Crucell Ad35, produces CD4 and CD8 immune T-cells, both critical arms of the cellular immune system. These potent CD4 and in particular, CD8 T-cell immune responses are thought to be central to the control of tuberculosis infection. Significantly, data further shows that in those participants who responded, CD8 immune responses are considerably higher than those ever seen in a TB vaccine study.

The trial is being being conducted on 40 healthy adult volunteers. All were vaccinated at birth.

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