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Dirt-Dwelling Bug Blocks Tuberculosis in African Vaccine Trial

An experimental vaccine based on a germ found in soil cut tuberculosis infections among people with HIV, the first time a shot has been shown to reduce cases of the most common AIDS-related cause of death in poor nations.

The shots reduced TB infections by 39 percent in patients who received them compared with those who got a placebo, according to a study published online by the journal AIDS today. The trial was stopped early, partly because of the clear effect of the vaccine, the study said.

Tuberculosis and HIV are a lethal combination, each speeding the other’s progress, according to the World Health Organization. The only existing TB vaccine -- the Bacillus Calmette-Guérin, or BCG, shot, which has been used to protect newborns since 1921 -- has “minimal or no protective effect” on adults, researchers led by Charles von Reyn at Dartmouth Medical School said in the study.

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