Research hints at oral TB vaccine

New Kiwi research has demonstrated the potential of an oral vaccine for tuberculosis.

In a study published this week in the open access journal PLoS ONE, researchers from the tested an oral formulation of the current tuberculosis (TB) vaccine in mice and found that it worked better than the standard injected vaccine in immunising against TB.

The standard vaccine for TB, Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG), is based on weakened strain of the tuberculosis-causing Mycobacterim bovis and must be given by injection.

However in the new study,  researchers combined the BCG vaccine with a lipid coating called Liporale™, which allowed the BCG vaccine to remain active in the gastrointestinal tract and potentially be taken orally as a pill or syrup.They found that in mice, the oral Liporale™-BCG vaccination induced a stronger immune response than a standard BCG injection.

Liporale™ was developed by University of Otago spin-off company Immune Solutions.

In a release from the University of Otago, lead researcher Dr Joanna Kirman highlighted the future potential of the formulation, saying,  “These results demonstrate that orally delivered LiporaleTM-BCG vaccine induces a long-lived multi-functional immune response, and could therefore represent a practical and effective means of delivering new BCG-based TB vaccines.”

The research has been covered by New Zealand media. Examples include: Kiwi researchers close to TB breakthrough               Radio Rhema: TB pill shows promise

Otago Daily Times: Vaccine breakthrough from Otago research