IDHTalks with Helen McShane: Developing a new tuberculosis vaccine

According to the latest WHO report in 2016, tuberculosis (TB) kills more people than any other pathogen across the globe, causing an estimated 10.4 million cases in 2015 alone. In this podcast we speak to Helen McShane, Professor of Vaccinology at Oxford University (UK), who comments that this, in addition to rising drug resistance, means the need for new tools to control TB has never been more urgent.

Helen has led the TB vaccine research group at Oxford University since 2001; most notably heading the development of one of the most clinically advanced new vaccine candidates, MVA85A.  Here, Helen speaks about her current research projects investigating the aerosol delivery of vaccines, developing human challenge models for TB and identifying new antigens for use in vaccines.

In addition she gives us her thoughts on the need for additions to the Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine and the challenges currently hindering vaccine development. Find out more in our podcast above.


00.30 – First, could you introduce yourself and tell us a bit about your career to date?

01.10 – You’ve been involved in researching TB for over 10 years – what first sparked your interest in this area?

02.21 – Could you outline your current research projects?

05.00 – Why do you feel we need alternatives to the Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine?

06.58 – You largely work on recombinant viral vectored TB vaccines. Do you feel this is more promising approach than, for example, subunit or live-attenuated vaccines, or are they all valuable methods to continue investigating at present?

08.15 – What do you consider to be the greatest challenges currently hindering the development of new vaccine for TB?

10.44 – Finally, looking forward, how close are we to eradicating TB and what steps could help bring this about faster?


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