Preclinical development of an in vivo BCG challenge model for testing candidate TB vaccine efficacy.
Minassian AM., Ronan EO., Poyntz H., Hill AVS., McShane H.
There is an urgent need for an immunological correlate of protection against tuberculosis (TB) with which to evaluate candidate TB vaccines in clinical trials. Development of a human challenge model of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M.tb) could facilitate the detection of such correlate(s). Here we propose a novel in vivo Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) challenge model using BCG immunization as a surrogate for M.tb infection. Culture and quantitative PCR methods have been developed to quantify BCG in the skin, using the mouse ear as a surrogate for human skin. Candidate TB vaccines have been evaluated for their ability to protect against a BCG skin challenge, using this model, and the results indicate that protection against a BCG skin challenge is predictive of BCG vaccine efficacy against aerosol M.tb challenge. Translation of these findings to a human BCG challenge model could enable more rapid assessment and down selection of candidate TB vaccines and ultimately the identification of an immune correlate of protection.