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New TB Vaccines in Could Protect Against All Drug Resistant Strains

New tuberculosis (TB) vaccines in development have the potential to provide protection against all strains of TB, including multidrug-resistant (MDR) and extensively drug- resistant (XDR) TB , Dr. Jerald C. Sadoff, president and CEO of the Aeras Global TB Vaccine Foundation, said here today at the International Conference on Global Health.

Aeras, the only non-profit organization dedicated solely to creating new TB vaccines, is working to develop at least one new TB vaccine regimen for infants and one for adolescents within seven to nine years and to ensure they are available worldwide to all who need them.

Aeras and its partners have the largest TB vaccine pipeline in the world with six vaccine candidates in or expected to be in Phase I-II trials in 2007.

Dr. Sadoff cited the rise of the new, deadlier strains of TB -- including MDR and XDR -- which are spreading around the world, including to the United States. This week the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) quarantined a patient in Atlanta who is infected with XDR, and who had been traveling on transatlantic flights. XDR TB is resistant to many of the first and second line drugs, severely limiting treatment options. At least 37 nations have reported cases of XDR.

"TB is second only to HIV/AIDS as the world's most deadly infectious disease and is the leading cause of death among individuals infected with HIV. TB takes a victim every 20 seconds, which adds up to more than 1.5 million people every year," Dr. Sadoff said.

"The rise of MDR and XDR TB, which has a particularly high fatality rate in people with HIV, makes our mission even more critical. The vaccines under development by Aeras and its partners are intended to protect against all strains of TB and to be safe for use in people infected with HIV."

Dr. Sadoff noted that there has not been a new TB vaccine since the current vaccine, Bacille Calmette-Guerin (B
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