Australian researchers to develop new TB vaccine
Melbourne: Australian researchers are set to launch a study to develop a new Tuberculosis vaccine that will boost immunity in children and protect them from allergies.
Over 1,400 children are expected to be part of this research over a two-year period.
According to a report, Scientists at University of Melbourne, Murdoch Children`s Institute and Mercy Hospital are keen to work on the vaccine, which was routinely given until the 1980s in Australia.
However, the practice was stopped after a decline in the number of people affected by TB.
Nigel Curtis of University of Melbourne said small studies have already shown positive results.
"It`s actually not understood completely how the TB vaccine kick starts the immune system in this way," he said.
"There`s plenty of evidence that it can do that, from both small studies in humans and animal studies, and the results from that did show reduced allergy in babies that had had BCG (the vaccine),` he said.
Curtis said the number of children suffering from allergies has skyrocketed in the past 20 years.
The most common allergies are eczema, food allergies, hay fever and asthma.
Curtis said the reasons for the increase in allergies are not clear, but there are a few theories.
"We live in too clean an environment and we`re not exposed to enough good bacteria and other germs early in life, in the critical period when the immune system needs a kick start to train it," he said.