Control of tuberculosis depends on vaccination, case finding and treatment. The most cost-effective approach to control of any infectious diseases is vaccination. However, current BCG vaccine for tuberculosis is not universally effective and interferes with
diagnosis (case finding). New vaccines and diagnostic reagents are urgently required for tuberculosis control. Traditional approaches to identification of bacterial proteins for vaccines and diagnosis depends on identification of proteins produced by the pathogen during growth in laboratory media. However, many of the most immunogenic protein antigens, that may be useful as vaccines and/or diagnostic reagents, are produced only during infection of the host. This project will utilise recent developments of molecular genetics to identify and isolate genes encoding antigens that are expressed only during infection. We will then engineer non-pathogenic mycobacteria to produce these antigenic proteins in the laboratory. The protein antigens will be tested as potential vaccines in animal models (mice and guinea pigs) by the industrial partner who has the appropriate expertise for these studies. The antigens will also be tested as reagents for diagnosis by screening infected individuals and tuberculous patients for immunoreactivity against antigens.
This project involves 5 partners from 4 different European countries who have complementary expertise (genetics, biochemistry, immunology and protection tests) and includes one industrial partner, Pasteur Mérieux Sérum et Vaccins who has expertise in the development of vaccines and reagents of medical interest.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts