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Japanese Global Health Fund Supports Dartmouth Tuberculosis Vaccine Trial

By Susan Green

A collaborative of Dartmouth's Geisel School of Medicine, Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences in Tanzania, and Tokyo Medical and Dental University received $1.4 million from Japan's Global Health Innovative Technology Fund to conduct a joint randomized clinical trial in Tanzania aimed at reducing the transmission of tuberculosis (TB). The trial will evaluate the safety and efficacy of DAR-901, a booster TB vaccine, in adolescents.

"We've been working on this since the 1990s, and DAR-901 remains the only new vaccine for TB in development that has shown to be effective in humans," says Ford von Reyn, MD, a professor of medicine at Geisel who led the development of the vaccine.

Von Reyn's Dartmouth team has been focused on research to combat TB since his tenure with the World Health Organization's AIDS program in 1987.

The current vaccine developed in 1928, Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG), is a live vaccine typically administered at birth, but does not offer lifelong immunity. DAR-910 is designed to boost and prolong BCG's protection, and in the new trial, it will be administered to 13-15-year-old participants who received BCG at birth.

Only one other prevention of TB infection trial is underway in South Africa.

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