Development of a non-human primate BCG infection model for the evaluation of candidate tuberculosis vaccines.
Harris SA., White A., Stockdale L., Tanner R., Sibley L., Sarfas C., Meyer J., Peter J., O'Shea MK., Manjaly Thomas Z-R., Hamidi A., Satti I., Dennis MJ., McShane H., Sharpe S.
The lack of validated immunological correlates of protection makes tuberculosis vaccine development difficult and expensive. Using intradermal bacille Calmette-Guréin (BCG) as a surrogate for aerosol Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M.tb) in a controlled human infection model could facilitate vaccine development, but such a model requires preclinical validation. Non-human primates (NHPs) may provide the best model in which to do this. Cynomolgus and rhesus macaques were infected with BCG by intradermal injection. BCG was quantified from a skin biopsy of the infection site and from draining axillary lymph nodes, by culture on solid agar and quantitative polymerase chain reaction. BCG was detected up to 28 days post-infection, with higher amounts of BCG detected in lymph nodes after high dose compared to standard dose infection. Quantifying BCG from lymph nodes of cynomolgus macaques 14 days post-high dose infection showed a significant reduction in the amount of BCG detected in the BCG-vaccinated compared to BCG-naïve animals. Demonstrating a detectable vaccine effect in the lymph nodes of cynomolgus macaques, which is similar in magnitude to that seen in an aerosol M.tb infection model, provides support for proof-of-concept of an intradermal BCG infection model and evidence to support the further evaluation of a human BCG infection model.