Bharat Biotech Begins Clinical Trials of First Adult TB Vaccine


Each year, tuberculosis (TB), a disease transmitted through the respiratory tract, claims the lives of over 1.6 million individuals and infects more than 10 million people worldwide.

Bharat Biotech International Limited, in partnership with Biofabri, has initiated a series of clinical trials in adults within the country to assess the safety, immunogenicity, and efficacy of MTBVAC—the first tuberculosis vaccine derived from human sources. A spokesperson at Bharat Biotech stated that this vaccine serves two primary purposes: to provide a more effective and potentially longer-lasting alternative to the BCG vaccine for newborns, and to prevent TB disease in adults and adolescents, for whom there is currently no effective vaccine available.

TB, an infectious disease primarily affecting the lungs and caused by bacteria, spreads through the air when infected individuals cough, sneeze, or spit. However, it is both preventable and curable.

Approximately a quarter of the global population is estimated to have been exposed to TB bacteria. Among those infected, about 5–10% will eventually develop symptoms and progress to TB disease. It is essential to note that individuals with latent TB infection do not experience symptoms and are not contagious, while those with TB disease exhibit symptoms and require antibiotic treatment. Notably, certain factors, such as diabetes, weakened immune system (e.g., HIV/AIDS), malnutrition, tobacco use, among others, increase the risk of developing TB disease.

Unlike TB infection, TB disease manifests symptoms, which may be mild for several months, thereby facilitating its spread to others unknowingly. Common symptoms of TB include persistent cough (sometimes with blood), chest pain, weakness, fatigue, weight loss, fever, and night sweats.