#priMe infants to stop TB

Tuberculosis (TB) is one of the top 10 causes of death worldwide. An estimated 10 million people fell ill with TB in 2020 with approximately 1.4 million dying from the disease. In children, BCG vaccination can protect against, or at least ameliorate, severe forms of systemic TB, particularly TB meningitis. Ultimately, to interrupt transmission of the disease, highly contagious pulmonary forms of TB also need to be targeted by vaccination. The priMe project evaluates the efficacy and safety of a new vaccine candidate against TB.

About priMe

In 1993, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared tuberculosis (TB) a global emergency. Approx. 2 billion people are infected and 10 million people are estimated to have fallen ill with TB in 2019. In the same year approx. 1.4 million died because of TB. South Africa and other Sub-Saharan countries belong to the group of “high-burden” TB countries with an estimated total incidence of 360,000 TB cases in 2019 in South Africa alone.

In children BCG can protect against, or at least ameliorate, severe forms of systemic TB, particularly TB meningitis.

VPM1002 is an innovative live vaccine against TB, based on the well-known Mycobacterium bovis (M. bovis) Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) strain which has been administered approximately 4 billion times worldwide.

The genetic modifications of VPM1002, namely introduction of listeriolysin while simultaneously deleting the gene for urease C in the BCG genome, are aiming for better recognition by the host immune system.

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We are pleased that after the long COVID lockdown we were also able to visit the East African sites to touch base and to discuss the conduct of the trial and potential improvements. We thank all centres for their warm welcome and their hospitality during our stay and hope to meet more often in person again.


March 24 is the World Tuberculosis (TB) day! The theme of 2022: "Invest to End TB. Save Lives."

VPM and Serum Institute of India Pvt. Ltd. are developing VPM1002 as a novel vaccine to protect against TB. We collaborate in the pivotal phase III trial (priMe) with clinical partners in five Sub-Saharan African countries, as well as with European partners for one specific goal: #EndTB. The project is funded by European & Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership and European Investment Bank.

We hope for a world free of TB!

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