New vaccines against tuberculosis
In September 2000, recognizing the effect of communicable diseases as obstacles to development in poorer countries, the European Commission assembled a special round table on ‘accelerated action targeted at major communicable diseases within the context of poverty reduction’. The three major communicable diseases discussed were tuberculosis (TB), malaria and HIV. One outcome of this discussion was a workshop examining issues related to the fight against TB in Africa, which took place in Gorée, Sénégal, in May 2001. The timing was propitious, as new vaccines for TB (recombinant MVA and BCG, and adjuvanated recombinant fusion proteins or peptide constructs), are just beginning to enter human clinical trials. All but the last of these have shown promise in animal models, up to and including non-human primates, and all are strongly immunogenic and apparently safe. Humans trials for safety and efficacy are thus the logical next step. This review summarizes recent advances in tuberculosis vaccine development, with a special emphasis on issues raised at the Gorée meeting about testing and deploying new generation vaccines in TB-endemic areas such as Africa.