Adjuvant Strategies for More Effective Tuberculosis Vaccine Immunity

Microorganisms. 2019 Aug 12;7(8):255. doi: 10.3390/microorganisms7080255.


Tuberculosis (TB) caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection is responsible for the most deaths by a single infectious agent worldwide, with 1.6 million deaths in 2017 alone. The World Health Organization, through its "End TB" strategy, aims to reduce TB deaths by 95% by 2035. In order to reach this goal, a more effective vaccine than the Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccine currently in use is needed. Subunit TB vaccines are ideal candidates, because they can be used as booster vaccinations for individuals who have already received BCG and would also be safer for use in immunocompromised individuals in whom BCG is contraindicated. However, subunit TB vaccines will almost certainly require formulation with a potent adjuvant. As the correlates of vaccine protection against TB are currently unclear, there are a variety of adjuvants currently being used in TB vaccines in preclinical and clinical development. This review describes the various adjuvants in use in TB vaccines, their effectiveness, and their proposed mechanisms of action. Notably, adjuvants with less inflammatory and reactogenic profiles that can be administered safely via mucosal routes, may have the biggest impact on future directions in TB vaccine design.

Keywords: Tuberculosis; adjuvant; clinical trials; delta inulin; immunology; mucosal; vaccine.

Publication types

  • Review