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First Epidemiological Study To Enroll Up To 1,000 Infants And Children In Cambodia Announced By Aeras And CHC

May 25, 2017

The Aeras Global TB Vaccine Foundation and the Cambodian Health Committee have announced the initiation of a study of tuberculosis prevalence in Svay Rieng Province, Cambodia, beginning this month. This is the first study conducted in partnership by the two non-profit research organizations and the first Aeras-sponsored study to be conducted in Cambodia.

"Enhancing the ability to diagnose TB in children is essential. The scientific knowledge to be gained from this trial will assist in global efforts while easing the suffering of children right now in Cambodia from this curable disease," says Anne Goldfeld, co-founder of CHC and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health.

One out of every three people worldwide is infected with TB. In 2007 more than nine million people became sick with active TB disease and nearly 2 million people died of the disease. Co-infection with HIV and the growth of difficult-to-treat drug-resistant forms of TB have worsened the epidemic and increased calls for new TB vaccines. Cambodia is ranked by the World Health Organization as among the 22 nations with the highest burden of tuberculosis. Nearly one million Cambodians are infected with TB and 12,000 die of TB annually.

Worldwide, infants and young children are at heightened risk for TB mortality because of inadequate prevention options, difficulties in timely diagnosis, and tendency to progress more quickly to severe and disseminated forms of TB disease. Due to resource constraints and technical difficulties in diagnosing childhood TB, the incidence of TB among infants is unknown in Cambodia.

This six month cross-sectional epidemiology study will enroll up to 1,000 infants and children under five years old. The primary objective of the study is to estimate the prevalence of tuberculosis among BCG-vaccinated children over the set period of the study in two operational districts of Svay Rieng Province.

With precise estimates of TB incidence in infants and children, strategic policies and programs for preventing, diagnosing and treating childhood TB can be developed in Cambodia and other resource poor environments. Towards this goal, this study will for the first time compare the efficacy of a state-of-the art liquid culture system donated by BD (Becton, Dickinson and Company) with traditional TB culture techniques.

"Accurate diagnosis of TB is critical to getting care to children now and to efforts to develop an effective TB vaccine. The currently available TB vaccine -- Bacille Calmette-Guérin -- provides some protection against severe forms of pediatric TB, but it does not prevent pulmonary TB, the most common form of the disease," said R. Gordon Douglas, Jr., MD, the Executive Chairman of Aeras Global TB Vaccine Foundation. "The world deserves new, more effective TB diagnostics and TB vaccines and Aeras is pleased to be collaborating with the Cambodian Health Committee in this effort."

Annmarie Leadman
Aeras Global TB Vaccine Foundation