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Paediatr Respir Rev. 2007 Jun;8(2):148-54. Epub 2007 Jun 4.

Childhood tuberculosis: old and new vaccines.

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South African Tuberculosis Vaccine Initiative, University of Cape Town, Anzio Road, Observatory, 7925, South Africa.


The world is witnessing an escalation of the tuberculosis (TB) epidemic, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa and South-East Asia. The problem has been compounded by the evolution of the human immunodeficiency virus pandemic, the increase in multidrug-resistant TB and the emergence of extensively drug-resistant TB. This has led to renewed interest in vaccines aimed at preventing tuberculosis. The current Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine prevents the invasive complications of childhood tuberculosis, such as meningitis and miliary disease, but provides variable protection against adult pulmonary disease. This review discusses the history of the BCG vaccine, the reasons for its variable efficacy, protective immunity and TB, and the evolution of and obstacles to development of new candidate vaccines. Several new TB vaccines have demonstrated promising results in animal models; a number have gone into phase I clinical trials in humans, and it is anticipated that phase III trials will commence by 2009. Licensing of an effective new TB vaccine by 2015 is thus a possibility.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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