Scientists at IDRI played an early role in a new TB vaccine, developed by GSK, that showed promising results in a report in the New England Journal of Medicine. The patent application for the vaccine lists our own Rhea Coler and Steve Reed as inventors.
The positive results published in the NEJM open the door for new TB vaccines that may have a similar or better efficacy. I’m incredibly excited by this demonstration of the first successful TB vaccine in nearly 100 years, but I hope the enthusiasm for this one vaccine doesn’t overshadow the need for the arsenal of vaccines that it will take to bring TB under control.
While GSK’s vaccine demonstrated an overall efficacy of 54 percent, a related editorial to the NEJM publication poses the question of whether efficacy could be improved by including additional antigens in the vaccine, and also states the adjuvant component may be critical.
IDRI is developing a next generation TB vaccine (“ID93 + GLA-SE”), which includes four antigens rather than the two included in the GSK vaccine and also a powerful adjuvant that is similar to the one used in the successful GSK vaccine.
Our vaccine has shown excellent safety and immune responses in Phase 2a trials in South Africa, and has the added benefit of having been produced in India, Africa and soon Korea. A locally produced vaccine that can be scaled and distributed at a low cost is key. We are confident that our vaccine could contribute to the tools needed in the fight against TB, and are eager to continue our clinical development of ID93 + GLA-SE.
Future plans for IDRI’s next generation TB vaccine include testing whether the vaccine prevents infection with TB in Korea, measuring the ability of the vaccine when used as adjunctive therapy to medications to improve the efficacy of TB treatment in India and South Africa, and testing the role of ID93+GLA-SE in reducing relapses or re-infection with TB after treatment in areas where the infection is endemic.