A candidate vaccine with the potential of protecting people latently infected with TB is the subject of a new Phase 1 clinical trial.
Conducted by the South African Tuberculosis Vaccine Initiative, the trial of the vaccine is the first step to aiding the two billion people worldwide with latent TB and stopping the infection becoming active.
If untreated, each person with active TB could infect between ten and 15 people each year, according to World Health Organization figures.
Jim Connolly, president and chief executive officer of Aeras, one of the organisations collaborating on the trial, said: "It's daunting to comprehend that there is a vast reservoir of people with a five to ten per cent lifetime risk of becoming sick with TB.
"A vaccine that prevents TB disease in this population could save millions of lives."
The vaccine candidate, SSI H56-IC31, contains recombinant TB proteins formulated in a proprietary adjuvant and has been designed for both adults and adolescents. The results from the Phase 1 trial are expected toward the end of 2012.