Rockville, USA: The search for new tuberculosis vaccines received a boost today with the announcement of a grant of $500,000 to the Aeras Global TB Vaccine Foundation to support scientific infrastructure development and clinical trials of new tuberculosis vaccines in India.
Funding to Aeras from the Research Council of Norway’s Programme for Global Health and Vaccination Research (GLOBVAC) is through the University of Bergen, which leads a consortium of scientists and researchers working collaboratively to prepare for TB vaccine clinical trials in India.
The grant will support two phase I clinical trials of promising TB vaccine candidates as well as the development of a state-of-the art immunology laboratory at St. John’s Research Institute in Bangalore.
“We are grateful to the Research Council of Norway’s GLOBVAC programme for their leadership in the search for a new, more effective TB vaccine,” said Jerald C. Sadoff, MD, the president and CEO of the Aeras Global TB Vaccine Foundation. “It is critically important to test candidate vaccines in countries where tuberculosis, which kills 1.7 million people annually, is highly endemic.”
The Research Council of Norway’s support to Aeras is part of a broader programme to prepare for large-scale efficacy trials of tuberculosis vaccines through capacity building, infrastructure development and epidemiological studies to determine tuberculosis incidence in study areas.
Other consortium participants include the Centre for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics of Hyderabad, India; the Serum Institute of India in Pune, India; the Institute of Pathology at the University of Oslo, Norway; and the Statens Serum Institute of Copenhagen, Denmark.
“Our overall aim is to strengthen research which can contribute to sustainable improvements in health in low and middle-income countries,” says Kårstein Måseide, programme coordinator of GLOBVAC. “There is a strong need to develop knowledge and tools to combat major diseases such as tuberculosis. It is important to strengthen collaboration with international partners, especially to build capacity in low- and middle-income countries.”
Aeras and the St. John’s Research Institute are collaborating to conduct epidemiological studies to determine the incidence of TB in infants in the Palamaner area, where a clinical field site has been developed. The efforts funded by the Research Council of Norway build upon this collaboration.