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Multi-disciplinary research for the strategic and translational development of late-stage tuberculosis vaccine candidates
Investigator(s): Prof Richard White (LSHTM), Dr Rebecca Harris (LSHTM), Dr Miqdad Asaria (LSE) and Prof Janet Seeley (LSHTM)
Amount Awarded: £230,000

Tuberculosis (TB) has become the largest single-pathogen cause of global adult deaths, with 10 million new cases and 1.3 million deaths in 2017. Efficacious vaccines for adolescents and adults are urgently needed to tackle the burden of disease and emerging multi-drug resistance.

2018 was a landmark year for TB vaccines, with few positive research findings in 100 years, two phase IIB trials reported positive vaccine efficacy results. The M72/AS01E TB vaccine candidate was found to protect participants against disease; and the BCG vaccine, usually given to newborns, was shown to protect against infection when given to adolescents. These late-stage clinical trials suggest that within 5-10 years, we may have two new strategies to reduce global TB deaths. However, these trials raised critical questions, that require support from tailored translational decision making tools, to maximise their chance of success and accelerate introduction. Therefore, the aim of this proposal is to provide the critical practical and modelling evidence to get these vaccine candidates efficiently tested, and rolled out, as quickly as possible, so they can start saving lives. Specifically, the multi-disciplinary research will use social science, mathematical modelling, epidemiology and health economic methods to estimate the expected future impact of these vaccines in South Africa, India and China based upon the recent trial results.

The work will forge new multi-disciplinary and multi-institution collaborations, and provide urgently needed evidence to inform development strategy, policy and practice at the country and global levels to help bring urgently needed new TB vaccines in to use.

Research team:

Prof Richard White, Professor of Infectious Disease Modelling, LSHTM
Dr Rebecca Harris, Assistant Professor, LSHTM
Dr Miqdad Asaria, Assistant Professorial Research Fellow, LSE
Prof Janet Seeley, Professor of Anthropology and Health, LSHTM.