OHSU researchers make breakthrough in tuberculosis vaccine - KPTV - FOX 12

OHSU researchers make breakthrough in tuberculosis vaccine

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HILLSBORO, OR (KPTV) -

There is exciting news from Oregon Health and Science University, where researchers have developed a new vaccine for tuberculosis that may have the power to change the world.

The new vaccine was developed at OHSU’s campus in Hillsboro at the Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute, and its success rate is very impressive.

During a tour of the lab Wednesday, researchers explained they worked with rhesus monkeys to develop this new vaccine, which incorporates a weakened form of the herpes virus.

The new vaccine has 70 percent success rate, completely eliminating tuberculosis in 40 percent of cases and reducing it another 30 percent of the time.

In comparison, the vaccine on the market right now didn’t work at all.

Researchers explained rhesus monkeys are much more susceptible to the disease than humans are, so the fact that this new vaccine worked so well in them means the success rate in humans maybe even better than 70 percent.

This is a project OHSU has been working on for years, but the results were just published in a scientific journal on Monday.

Researcher Dr. Louis Picker said this advance is so significant because tuberculosis is now the leading cause of death from infectious disease, with nearly 2,000,000 people dying from it around the world every year, and without a vaccine that works – doctors will never get rid of it.

“It’s getting scarier and scarier because there’s a lot of drug-resistant TB out there that’s getting harder and harder to treat,” Pickler explained. “When I was in medical school, TB was almost passé. We have antibiotics, we don’t need to worry anymore. Well, that is no longer the case. The bug has adapted to those antibiotics.”

Picker is also working on a vaccine for HIV. Both that and this new TB vaccine are moving toward human trials in the next year or two.

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