First Human TB Vaccine Trials to Launch in Canada

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
Human TB Vaccine

The first TB vaccine clinical trials on humans start in Canada Mid-April. Canadian researchers plan to recruit 48 healthy volunteers between 18 and 55 years old to take part in the first clinical trials to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of a vaccine against TB in humans.

Pre-clinical trials for the TB vaccine were performed by researchers at McMaster University in Canada, where the vaccine was designed, and led by Zhou Xing, a professor in the Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine at the University.

Fiona Smaill, a professor of medicine and chair of the Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine says, "The exciting thing for McMaster is that this is translational research that has gone from the basic science where the vector has been designed here at McMaster, then manufactured here, with all the pre-clinical studies done at McMaster."


The announcement of the TB vaccine trials coincides with World TB day on March 24, a day when researchers will raise awareness of tuberculosis, the second most lethal infection in the world, rivaled only by HIV.

Adenovirus, genetically modified, was used to develop the TB vaccine. The TB vaccine is known as AdAg85A. The researchers have already conducted studies on animals prone to TB, and found the vaccine very promising. By removing a portion of the adenovirus gene, and inserting the TB gene that boosts immunity, the researchers found that the body could manufacture a “natural immunity” to tuberculosis. The adenovirus is used as a vehicle to introduce the vaccine into the body. Once the cold virus is introduced, the TB gene remains to produce immunity.

Tuberculosis is a worldwide killer, and a vaccine is sorely needed. Bacterial resistance has emerged largely, and many tuberculosis strains defy eradication with current antibiotics.

Tuberculosis kills two million people each year. The TB vaccine developed by McMasters University researchers shows promise, and clinical trials on humans start next month after twenty years of groundwork that may finally pay off in the fight against tuberculosis. The tuberculosis vaccine has passed all testing necessary for use in human trials.

Reference: Mcmaster