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In this blog, Aye Myat Pwint Thu, one of the Clinical Research Fellows at NDM’s Jenner Institute sheds light on a tuberculosis vaccine trial led by Professor Helen McShane, Professor of Vaccinology at the Jenner Institute.

My name is Aye Myat Pwint Thu. I’m working as one of the Clinical Research Fellows at the Jenner Institute in Prof Helen McShane’s group. I’m the lead clinician on TB 46 which is a BCG revaccination trial.

The trial will compare whether giving Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG), the current and only licensed vaccine against tuberculosis (TB), via a novel inhaled route stimulates a stronger and better immune response than giving it into the skin. In this study, BCG will be given a second time to volunteers who have already had BCG once before. We’re recruiting healthy volunteers, with and without type 2 diabetes, who have previously been vaccinated with BCG.

The trial aims to compare whether giving the BCG vaccine by inhalation is better at stimulating a strong immune response than conventional injection into the skin. It will also look at whether giving BCG in the skin to people with type 2 diabetes will stimulates as strong an immune response as giving BCG in the skin to healthy people without diabetes – this is important as we know that people with diabetes are more likely to get TB.

As the natural route of infection with tuberculosis is through inhalation of droplets into the lungs, this study, which delivers BCG by the same route, is hoped to be better at stimulating the immune system. Developing vaccines which protect against TB is important in immunocompromised group of people such as people in diabetes.

Tuberculosis is a major cause of death and infectious disease worldwide, despite BCG vaccine being around for more than 100 years. We urgently need to find new ways to better protect people from TB. Studies like this will help us in designing and finding new vaccines against TB.

Prof McShane said: ‘TB kills more people than any other infectious disease – we urgently need better tools. This study will help us in two ways – it will test a new way to give the existing TB vaccine – that is into the airway – and also help us understand why people with diabetes are more likely to get TB than healthy non diabetic people. Both of these things will help us develop more effective vaccines against TB.’

Find out more about this trial here: