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Department of Electrical Engineering
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Department of Chemical Engineering
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Department of Biological Sciences
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    ABSTRACT: To date, most new vaccines against Mycobacterium tuberculosis, including new recombinant versions of the current BCG vaccine, have usually been screened against the laboratory strains H37Rv or Erdman. In this study we took advantage of our recent work in characterizing an increasingly large panel of newly emerging clinical isolates [from the United States or from the Western Cape region of South Africa], to determine to what extent vaccines would protect against these [mostly high virulence] strains. We show here that both BCG Pasteur and recombinant BCG Aeras-422 [used here as a good example of the new generation BCG vaccines] protected well in both mouse and guinea pig low dose aerosol infection models against the majority of clinical isolates tested. However, Aeras-422 was not effective in a long term survival assay compared to BCG Pasteur. Protection was very strongly expressed against all of the Western Cape strains tested, reinforcing our viewpoint that any attempt at boosting BCG would be very difficult to achieve statistically. This observation is discussed in the context of the growing argument made by others that the failure of a recent vaccine trial disqualifies the further use of animal models to predict vaccine efficacy. This viewpoint is in our opinion completely erroneous, and that it is the fitness of prevalent strains in the trial site area that is the centrally important factor, an issue that is not being addressed by the field.
    PLoS ONE 09/2015; 10(9):e0136500. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0136500
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    ABSTRACT: Intracellular cytokine staining combined with flow cytometry is one of a number of assays designed to assess T-cell immune responses. It has the specific advantage of enabling the simultaneous assessment of multiple phenotypic, differentiation and functional parameters pertaining to responding T-cells, most notably, the expression of multiple effector cytokines. These attributes make the technique particularly suitable for the assessment of T-cell immune responses induced by novel tuberculosis vaccines in clinical trials. However, depending upon the particular nature of a given vaccine and trial setting, there are approaches that may be taken at different stages of the assay that are more suitable than other alternatives. In this paper, the Tuberculosis Vaccine Initiative (TBVI) TB Biomarker Working group reports on efforts to assess the conditions that will determine when particular assay approaches should be employed. We have found that choices relating to the use of fresh whole blood or peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) and frozen PBMC; use of serum-containing or serum-free medium; length of stimulation period and use of co-stimulatory antibodies can all affect the sensitivity of intracellular cytokine assays. In the case of sample material, frozen PBMC, despite some loss of sensitivity, may be more advantageous for batch analysis. We also recommend that for multi-site studies, common antibody panels, gating strategies and analysis approaches should be employed for better comparability.
    PLoS ONE 09/2015; 10(9):e0138042. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0138042
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    ABSTRACT: To evaluate interleukin (IL)-2 and interferon (IFN)-γ secreting T-cells in parallel for the differentiation of latent infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection (LTBI) from active tuberculosis. Following ex-vivo stimulation of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) with M. tuberculosis-specific antigens early secretory antigenic target (ESAT)-6 and culture filtrate protein (CFP)-10, immune responses were assessed by enzyme-linked immunospot IFN-γ release assay (EliSpot-IGRA) and a novel dual cytokine detecting fluorescence-linked immunospot (FluoroSpot) in 18 patients with pulmonary tuberculosis, 10 persons with previously cured tuberculosis, 25 individuals with LTBI and 16 healthy controls. Correlation of IFN- γ+ spot-forming cells in EliSpot-IGRA and FluoroSpot were R2 = 0.67 for ESAT-6 and R2 = 0.73 for CFP-10. The number of IL-2- IFN- γ+ producing cells was higher in patients with tuberculosis compared with past tuberculosis (CFP-10-induced p = 0.0068) or individuals with LTBI (ESAT-6-induced p = 0.0136). A cutoff value of >16 CFP-10-induced IFN-γ+ secreting cells/200.000 PBMC in the EliSpot-IGRA discriminated with highest sensitivity and specificity (89% and 76%, respectively). However, overlap in cytokine responses precludes distinction between the cohorts on an individual basis. Combined analysis of IFN-γ and IL-2 secretion by antigen specific T-cells does not allow a reliable differentiation between different states of M. tuberculosis infection in clinical practice.
    PLoS ONE 03/2015; 10(3):e0120006. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0120006


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The Lancet 09/2002; 360(9330):397-405. DOI:10.1016/S0140-6736(02)09620-4
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The Lancet 09/2015; DOI:10.1016/S0140-6736(15)00128-2
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