The impact of human single nucleotide polymorphisms on Bacillus Calmette-Guérin responses

Vaccine. 2020 Sep 11;38(40):6224-6235. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2020.07.032. Epub 2020 Aug 18.


The influence of genetic variability on human immune responses has major implications for the understanding of disease mechanisms and host-pathogen interactions. Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine, which is given globally to protect against tuberculosis, has high variability in its protective efficacy against mycobacteria and its beneficial off-target (heterologous) effects. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) are major cause of genetic variation and have been strongly associated with susceptibility to tuberculosis and outcomes following BCG immunotherapy for cancer. This review discusses the contribution of SNPs to the variability in mycobacterial-specific and off-target BCG responses, and the implications for this on development of novel TB vaccines and strategies to harness the beneficial off-target effects of BCG.

Keywords: Bacillus Calmette-Guérin; Heterologous immunity; Immune regulation; Single nucleotide polymorphism; Tuberculosis.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • BCG Vaccine
  • Humans
  • Mycobacterium bovis* / genetics
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide
  • Tuberculosis Vaccines*
  • Tuberculosis* / prevention & control


  • BCG Vaccine
  • Tuberculosis Vaccines