Fact and fiction in tuberculosis vaccine research: 10 years later

Lancet Infect Dis. 2011 Aug;11(8):633-40. doi: 10.1016/S1473-3099(11)70146-3.


Tuberculosis is one of the most deadly infectious diseases. The situation is worsening because of co-infection with HIV and increased occurrence of drug resistance. Although the BCG vaccine has been in use for 90 years, protection is insufficient; new vaccine candidates are therefore needed. 12 potential vaccines have gone into clinical trials. Ten are aimed at prevention of tuberculosis and, of these, seven are subunit vaccines either as adjuvanted or viral-vectored antigens. These vaccines would be boosters of BCG-prime vaccination. Three vaccines are recombinant BCG constructs-possible replacements for BCG. Additional vaccine candidates will enter clinical trials in the near future, including postexposure vaccines for individuals with latent infection. In the long term, vaccines that prevent or eradicate infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis would be the best possible option. Improved knowledge of immunology, molecular microbiology, cell biology, biomics, and biotechnology has paved the way towards an effective and safe vaccine against tuberculosis. The pipeline of new vaccine candidates from preclinical to clinical testing could be accelerated by development of biomarkers that can predict the clinical outcome of tuberculosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Humans
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / immunology*
  • Tuberculosis / blood
  • Tuberculosis / immunology*
  • Tuberculosis / prevention & control*
  • Tuberculosis Vaccines / administration & dosage*
  • Tuberculosis Vaccines / immunology*
  • Vaccination / methods*
  • Vaccination / nursing
  • Vaccination / standards


  • Biomarkers
  • Tuberculosis Vaccines