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Lost Genes Lend New Strength To TB Vaccine

  April, 21 2003 7:28
your information resource in human molecular genetics
Reinforcing the existing tuberculosis (TB) vaccine with new genes from the microbe that causes the disease makes the vaccine more effective, Stewart Cole and his colleagues report in the May issue of Nature Medicine.

There is no consistently successful vaccine for TB, which kills more than 2 million people each year. The most commonly used vaccine, Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG), is most effective against certain childhood forms of the disease. BCG is a live vaccine derived from a virulent strain of the microbe that causes TB. When scientists first created the vaccine in 1922, they passaged the microbe through several generations, losing several microbial genes in the process.

Cole and colleagues added back some of those genes, including two that prompt a strong immune response. While BCG has a strong safety record, adding the new genes could potentially induce side effects, the researchers caution. Douglas Young discusses the findings in an accompanying News and Views article.

Author contact:
Stewart T. Cole
Unite de Genetique Moleculaire Bacterienne, Institut Pasteur, Paris, France
Tel: +33 1 456 88446
E-mail: stcole@pasteur.fr

News & Views author contact:
Douglas Young
Imperial College School of Medicine, London, UK
Tel: +44 171 594 3962
E-mail: d.young@ic.ac.uk

Also available online.

(C) Nature Medicine press release.

Message posted by: Trevor M. D'Souza

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