A researcher from Birmingham University's School of Biosciences has won EU funding of 180,000 Euros to identify and develop new vaccines against Tuberculosis.
Del Besra, Professor of Microbial Physiology and Chemistry, will be looking particularly into the development of improved vaccines for the young adult population as the vast majority of TB cases seen in developing countries are in younger people. Antibiotics will be useless in 10 or 15 years time and multi-resistant TB is becoming more prevalent in developing countries. Courses of treatment are currently very long leading to a lack of compliance resulting in patients, who do not complete their course, remaining highly infectious so vaccination remains the most effective option.
Tuberculosis kills 3 million people every year with 30 million affected at any one time. Areas most affected include Africa, South East Asia and South America, and outbreaks have even occurred in Britain recently.
Professor Del Besra, lead investigator from the School of Biosciences, says, 'Our investigations will look into the use of lipids, which may prove to be invaluable for boosting the immune response to candidate vaccines in the fight against tuberculosis.'
Thirty institutions world-wide will also be working on this project including two vaccine producers and small and medium sized enterprises across Europe.