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Dartmouth medical research closes in on new tuberculosis vaccine
Date:8/23/2012

Tuberculosis (TB) is second only to HIV/AIDS as the greatest killer worldwide attributable to a single infectious agent, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). With 8.8 million cases in 2010 and 95 percent of TB deaths occurring in low- and middle-income countries, the disease continues to be a major public health problem in the developing world. In a July address to the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, Dartmouth's C. Fordham (Ford) von Reyn shared news of a promising vaccine in the works.

Developed by von Reyn and colleagues in the United States and Tanzania, the vaccine is known as DAR-901, reflecting its Dartmouth connection as well as the collaboration with Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

DAR-901 is the first effective new TB vaccine since 1928, when Bacille CalmetteGurin (BCG) was first adopted by the Health Committee of the League of Nations. BCG is the only licensed TB vaccine in the world, but it is only about 80 percent effective and then only during the first 15 years of life. Globally, there are more than 20 research groups working on this problem, and Dartmouth's group is the first to have successfully completed an efficacy trial of a new TB vaccine.

Von Reyn, a physician, is a professor of medicine at The Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, director of the DarDar [Dartmouth-Dar es Salaam] International Programs in Tanzania, and a member of the Section of Infectious Disease and International Health at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. He first took up the challenge of tuberculosis in 1987 at the WHO and began developing a vaccine strategy in the 1990s.

"When we started out, the most important risk for TB worldwide was HIV infection and TB remains the leading cause of death from HIV in most areas of the developing world," von Reyn says. "If a TB vaccine is effective in an immunocompromised population it should be even more
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Contact: Amy Olson
amy.d.olson@dartmouth.edu
603-646-3661
Dartmouth College
Source:Eurekalert  

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