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 18 November 2017

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News

Trial of African bacterium may boost hepatitis B virus immunity

Scientists in Adelaide, Australia, are to conduct a trial of a naturally-occurring bacterium from Africa, seeking to boost the effectiveness of hepatitis B immunization.

News image

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The Women's and Children's Hospital will use heat-killed Mycobacterium vaccae to see whether it enhances Hepatitis B immunization in carriers.

Dr Paul Goldwater, senior clinical microbiologist, said the M. vaccae bacterium occurred in regions of Africa that had extremely low rates of diseases like HIV and tuberculosis.

"It is thought that M. vaccae is an environmental agent that helps the body mount an immune response, and this is why people living in those areas are better able to cope with some highly contagious diseases," he said.

M.vaccae was found in parts of Africa with low rates of HIV and tuberculosis.
Women's and Children's Hospital, Adelaide

"Our trial will establish whether immunization of hepatitis B carriers with hepatitis B vaccine, given together with heat-killed M. vaccae, will help the carriers rid themselves of the hepatitis B virus."

He said other studies had also shown that M. vaccae helped raise a good immune response in other diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, leprosy, melanoma, and cancers of the cervix, ovary, lung, kidney, and prostate.

The researchers are also conducting a separate trial of the M. vaccae in people who fail to develop antibodies to HBV vaccination, known as 'non-responders'.

Dr Goldwater said, "The lack of response to the vaccine was of particular concern for people who were at higher risk of infection with the virus, such as health-care workers, ambulance staff, and police".

Report Copyright: Englemed Health News at http://www.internationalmedicalnews.com

Women's and Children's Hospital, Adelaide
14 May 2001

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