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Harvard team creates spray drying technique for TB vaccine

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. February 12, 2007 Bioengineers and public health researchers have developed a novel spray drying method for preserving and delivering the most common tuberculosis (TB) vaccine. The low-cost and scaleable technique offers several potential advantages over conventional freezing procedures, such as greater stability at room temperature and use in needle-free delivery. The spray drying process could one day provide a better approach for vaccination against TB and help prevent the related spread of HIV/AIDS in the developing world.

The research team led by Yun-Ling Wong, a graduate researcher in bioengineering, and David Edwards, Gordon McKay Professor of the Practice of Biomedical Engineering, both at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and Barry R. Bloom, Dean of the Harvard School of Public Health and Joan L. and Julius H. Jacobson Professor of Public Health, was sponsored in part by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The work appeared in the February 13 edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"With the increasing incidence of tuberculosis and drug resistant disease in developing countries due to HIV/AIDS, there is a need for vaccines that are more effective than the present Bacillus Calmette-Gurin (BCG) vaccine," said Wong. "An optimal new vaccine would obviate needle injection, not require refrigerated storage, and provide a safe and more consistent degree of protection."

BCG, while the most widely administered childhood vaccine in the world, with 100 million infant administrations annually, is presently dried by freezingor lyophilization and delivered by needle injection. The commercial formulation requires refrigerated storage and has shown variable degrees of protection against tuberculosis in different parts of the world. Because of such limitations, public health experts and physicians have long seen a need for alternatives to the traditional BCG vaccine and cur
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Contact: Michael Patrick Rutter
mrutter@deas.harvard.edu
617-496-3815
Harvard University
12-Feb-2007


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