“Developing a new vaccine for TB is tough. It is a very complex disease and presents major challenges,” explained Emmanuel (Manu) Hanon, Senior Vice President, Head of Vaccines R&D, GSK.
Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) – the bacteria that can cause TB – is unique. “These bacteria have the amazing ability to remain latent in their host by creating a kind of niche micro-environment, protecting them from our immune system,” added Manu.
“This means that it is even harder to displace the bacteria with a vaccine. What’s more, the unique latency mechanism cannot really be reproduced in laboratory so the only way to find a potential vaccine against TB is through clinical trials with very large numbers of participants. This is exactly what we are doing.”