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ICMR launches TB vaccine trial

The last TB vaccine trial for BCG was done in the 1970s

By The Telegraph in New Delhi

  • Published 16.07.19, 2:20 PM
  • Updated 16.07.19, 2:28 PM
The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) intends to complete the trial in four years
The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) intends to complete the trial in four years (Shutterstock)

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has launched a vaccine trial to prevent TB, contracted by nearly 3 lakh people every year in India.

The ICMR has undertaken a trial for the first time since the BCG vaccine trial, done decades back.

“After a detailed landscape analysis of the available lead vaccine candidates, two potential vaccine candidates VPM 1002 and MIP were shortlisted for taking forward through the Phase III vaccine trial in healthy household contacts of sputum smear positive TB patients,” the ICMR said in a statement on Monday.

Of the two vaccines, MIP (Mycrobacterium Indicus Pranii) was developed indigenously, and the VPM 1002, though was developed by a German scientist, is licensed by the Serum institute of India, Pune,for manufacture.

The trial will be done with 12,000 individuals living in close contact with sputum-smear positive TB patients and will be followed for three years. The sample size will be chosen from seven sites in six states—Delhi, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, and Telangana.

“India has the highest number of TB cases in the world. Each year 2.8 lakh people develop TB. The deadline given by the Prime Minister for TB eradication is 2025, which is five years of the global deadline. No disease can be eliminated without a vaccine. That is why being a government organisation, the ICMR took this initiative to shortlist the most advanced vaccine candidates, take them through phase III trials, and quickly give a vaccine to the country,” ICMR scientist Manjula Singh, who is a co-investigator and co-ordinator for the trial, told this website.

“The BCG vaccine trial was done decades ago (in the 70s), after that this is first trial for TB which the ICMR is undertaking. This vaccine, MIP, is already a commercial vaccine. This has to be passed by the regulators, in case it is found to be efficacious,” she added.

The BCG vaccine, though proved to be successful earlier, has grown on to become inefficacious in preventing TB among adults, which has now led to the hunt for the new vaccine.

According to Singh, the disease has become rampant over the years because of a combination of certain factors like malnourishment and incomplete treatment. The other key factor is low immunity. 

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