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TB vaccine fails on infants, study says

A nurse performed a check-up on a baby as part of a clinical trial in Worcester, South Africa.

Reuters/File 2012

A nurse performed a check-up on a baby as part of a clinical trial in Worcester, South Africa.

LONDON — The world’s most advanced tuberculosis vaccine failed to protect babies against the infectious disease, according to a new study in South Africa.

The vaccine, MVA85A, was designed to improve the protection provided by the ­tuberculosis vaccine, BCG, which is routinely given to newborns.

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Though the new vaccine appeared safe, scientists found no proof it prevented tuberculosis, an airborne disease that kills more than 1 million ­people worldwide every year.

Previous tests of the vaccine in adults had been promising and researchers said the trial provided useful data to inform future studies.

There are a dozen other vaccines being tested.

Some health officials were discouraged by the results. ‘‘It’s pretty disappointing,’’ said Dr. Jennifer Cohn, a medical coordinator at Doctors Without Borders, who was not part of the study. ‘‘Infants are at really high risk of TB but this doesn’t seem to offer them any protection.’’

MVA85A was developed at Oxford University.

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