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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.

Original publication




Journal article


Tuberculosis (Edinb)

Publication Date





99 - 105


BCG infection, Non-human primate, Tuberculosis, Vaccine, Animals, BCG Vaccine, Disease Models, Animal, Host-Pathogen Interactions, Lymph Nodes, Macaca fascicularis, Macaca mulatta, Mycobacterium bovis, Skin, Time Factors, Tuberculosis