In the past decade, scientists have made significant progress building the critical knowledge and infrastructure needed to identify and develop novel tuberculosis (TB) vaccine candidates and move the most promising ones into human clinical trials. The results of those trials, coupled with advances from other TB studies, have paved the way for the next 10 years of research on TB vaccines, a critical component of TB control efforts, note scientists at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health. Their editorial, co-authored by NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., and Christine Sizemore, Ph.D., appears in the journal Tuberculosis to coincide with the publication of Tuberculosis Vaccines: A Strategic Blueprint for the Next Decade.
The new Blueprint on TB vaccines updates the original one, which was published in 2000 as the result of an NIH-sponsored workshop.
Since that time, TB researchers have assembled a significant pipeline of vaccine candidates and assessed them in clinical trials. However, to transform the field and help make licensure of new vaccines a reality, the editorial co-authors stress, scientists must investigate remaining fundamental questions, including the following:
- Why does infection with the TB bacterium cause active disease in some people but not others?
- Why does the current licensed TB vaccine, Bacille Calmette-Guérin, protect children more effectively than adults?
- What immune responses must effective vaccines elicit to successfully protect against TB?
C Sizemore and AS Fauci. Transforming biomedical research to develop effective TB vaccines: The next ten years. Tuberculosis 92(S1):S2-S3 (2012).