Tuberculosis causes 2-3 million deaths/year. A more effective vaccine than BCG is required, but rational vaccine trials cannot be planned for two main reasons. First, although many mycobacterium antigens have been isolated, we do not know which ones to test in human trials. It is not possible to test them all. Secondly we do not know which mechanisms are crucial for killing M. tuberculosis in man, so we cannot rationally select an adjuvant, or plan short term pilot studies using surrogate markers of protection. VACSEL will therefore conduct longitudinal studies, in 3 geographically distinct African countries, of TB contacts who do or do not develop clinical disease, in order to identify ;
i) the antigens,
ii) the cytokine profile and
iii) the markers of apoptosis, that correlate with protection so that rational design and testing of vaccines can begin.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
2003 Addis Abeba