By Staff Writer
Researchers from Biomedical Capacities Support Program (BIOCAPS) are collaborating with scientists from seven countries to design a future vaccine against one of the most persistent diseases worldwide, an infectious disease that provokes one death every 24 seconds: Tuberculosis.
Specifically, experts from the “Institute of Biomedical Research of Vigo“ (IBI) would be responsible to search for biomarkers that are correlated with protective immune responses against the pathogen that causes the disease, a key step in the development of an effective vaccine.
The Infectious Diseases strategic area of BIOCAPS is in this way contributing to address an important public health problem that affects countries around the world. This illness affects close to 9 million individuals each year, of which almost 1.5 million ultimately die of the disease despite the medical advances that have been made, converting tuberculosis into the second cause of death due to an infectious disease worldwide, behind the HIV virus. Inadequate diagnosis and the ability of the pathogen that causes the disease to adapt to antibiotics, becoming resistant to the drugs used, highlight the urgent need to address this problem in a preventative manner, that is by developing a truly effective vaccine.
“The only vaccine currently available is that which uses mycobacteria bovis, yet it is not fully effective against pulmonary tuberculosis and it only combats the severe infant forms of the disease”, explains África González-Fernández, co-ordinator of BIOCAPS.
The project that will last for four years has been awarded nearly 8 million Euros of funding from the European Research programme – Horizon 2020. Co-ordinated by St George’s Hospital at the University of London, other groups from the UK, Spain (as well as the group at BIOCAPS, a group at the CSIC’s “Instituto de Investigaciones Marinas” -Institute of Marine Research- in Vigo and another group in Catalonia), Sweden, Italy, Mozambique and the Czech Republic will collaborate in the Project, along with a German and a British company.