FNIH Launches New Project to Improve Vaccination Against Tuberculosis

March 19, 2019 — The Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH) has launched a new project that will develop better vaccines to prevent tuberculosis (TB). Through the new project, titled “Understanding the mechanisms of intravenous BCG-induced protection against TB in NHP,” researchers will analyze the effects of delivering the only current TB vaccine, Bacillus Calmette Guerin (BCG), through a new route, intravenously (IV), in an attempt to better prevent TB. Funded through a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to the FNIH, the research will be conducted by the Vaccine Research Center of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and the University of Pittsburgh.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), in 2017 approximately 10 million people fell ill from TB and it remains a top 10 cause of death from infection worldwide. The BCG vaccine is the most widely used vaccine in the world. It is administered intradermally (injected into the skin) at birth and protects against TB disease in children. However, it has variable efficacy in protecting against pulmonary disease in adolescents and adults, who are responsible for spreading the infection. As part of the new project, TB vaccine researchers will study the effects of IV delivery, which could better activate the white blood cells that help trigger a long-term immune response in the lungs to prevent TB. The researchers will test this method of delivery in animal models, using sophisticated immune cell analysis, radiologic imaging, microbiology and pathology analyses. The goal of the study is to elucidate the immune mechanisms of protection to guide future vaccine design.

For more information about the project, click here.


Public Partners

  • National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)

Private Partners

  • Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation*

Academic Partners

  • University of Pittsburgh

*Provided financial or in-kind support for this program.

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