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Glaxo, foundation to develop TB vaccine

Oct. 20, 2005 at 3:58 PM

PARIS, Oct. 20 (UPI) -- GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals and a Maryland medical foundation announced a plan Thursday to develop a new tuberculosis vaccine for poor countries.

The TB vaccine now in use was developed in 1921 and provides little protection for adults. TB, a major killer through the mid-20th century, has surged in recent years, especially in Africa, partly as a consequence of the AIDS epidemic.

Aeras Global TB Vaccine Foundation said a Glaxo vaccine that is under development and shows promise will be put through clinical trials to determine its safety and efficacy. Aeras received an $82.9 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for development of a TB vaccine.

"For far too long, the world has relied on inadequate tools to fight the TB epidemic," said Dr. Helene Gayle, director of HIV, TB and reproductive health at the Gates Foundation. "By advancing this vaccine candidate into clinical trials, Aeras and GSK Biologicals are taking an important step toward developing an effective TB vaccine that could save millions of lives."

The announcement was made at the World Conference on Lung Health in Paris.

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