2019 Saw Significant Advances in Tuberculosis Research
A new article in the Perspective section of The Journal of Infectious Diseases highlights recent progress made in the field of tuberculosis (TB) research, including new drug and treatment development, vaccine candidates, and improved diagnostics. Anthony S. Fauci, MD, Director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), said that it is important to continue to build on this growth in 2020 to further advance the research needed to achieve the goal of eliminating TB within a generation.
Several recent clinical trials underline the advancements in therapeutic developments. In a phase 3 clinical study (BRIEF TB/A5279), a combination of 2 antibiotic drugs taken over 1-month worked was found to work as well as a single drug taken over 9-months to prevent TB in at-risk adults and adolescents with HIV. In June 2019 the phase 3 PHOENIx MDR-TB (Protecting Households on Exposure to Newly Diagnosed Index Multidrug-Resistant Tuberculosis Patients) trial began in 12 countries and will compare oral regimens for preventing active TB in adults, teens, and children who are at high risk of infection because they live with adults who have multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB).
“Results from this innovative study will inform new TB prevention guidelines to avert the pain, disability, and death associated with MDR-TB,” the authors wrote.
Preclinical and clinical results on TB vaccine development also rounded out a successful 2019. One study on Bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccine, the only licensed TB vaccine, found an increase in efficacy when administered intravenously instead of by the standard intradermal route. The results of a phase 2b trial of a candidate TB vaccine M72/AS01 demonstrated 50% efficacy in preventing development of active pulmonary TB compared with placebo.
Eisinger RW, Embry AC, Read SW, Fauci AS. 2019: A banner year for tuberculosis research. The Journal of Infectious Diseases. 2020. DOI: 10.1093/infdis/jiaa051 (2020).