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Free Content Molecular analysis of the bacille Calmette-Guérin vaccine strain currently being used in Iran

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BACKGROUND: In developing countries, tuberculosis (TB) infection control remains a challenge. The bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine is the only effective vaccine available for TB control. Iran uses a local BCG vaccine strain with an unknown substrain.

OBJECTIVE: To investigate the molecular characteristics of the current BCG strain being used in Iran using comparative genomics of the evolutionarily late strains, including BCG vaccines Pasteur, BCG-Danish, BCG-Glaxo, BCG-Prague, BCG-Frappier, BCG-Connaught and BCG-Moreau.

METHODS: A total of 67 different vials of BCG vaccine were cultured. DNA was extracted using the modified cetrimonium bromide (CTAB) method, and multiplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was performed to determine four target genomic regions of difference (RD) 1, RD8, RD16 and SenX3–RegX3, and to see whether RD2 and RD14 were present.

RESULTS: Our results showed that all studied batches were Mycobacterium bovis; molecular analysis revealed that the Iranian vaccine strains possess RD8, RD16 and SenX3–RegX3 regions but not RD1, RD2 and RD14. All of the vaccine batches analysed were compatible with BCG-Pasteur 1173p2, the original strain.

CONCLUSION: All of the BCG strains studied were recognised as the BCG-Pasteur 1173p2 strain. No genetic diversity among stocks and ready-for-use vaccine vials were detected.
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Keywords: BCG vaccine; Iran; tuberculosis

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: *Paediatric Infections Research Centre, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran 2: Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran 3: Department of Microbiology, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran 4: §Center for Communicable Diseases Control, Ministry of Health and Medical Education, Tehran 5: School of Traditional Medicine, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

Publication date: February 1, 2016

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  • The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease publishes articles on all aspects of lung health, including public health-related issues such as training programmes, cost-benefit analysis, legislation, epidemiology, intervention studies and health systems research. The IJTLD is dedicated to the continuing education of physicians and health personnel and the dissemination of information on tuberculosis and lung health world-wide.

    Certain IJTLD articles are selected for translation into French, Spanish, Chinese or Russian. They are available on the Union website

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