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1.  Serum indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase activity is associated with reduced immunogenicity following vaccination with MVA85A 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2014;14(1):660.
There is an urgent need for improved vaccines to protect against tuberculosis. The currently available vaccine Bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG) has varying immunogenicity and efficacy across different populations for reasons not clearly understood. MVA85A is a modified vaccinia virus expressing antigen 85A from Mycobacterium tuberculosis which has been in clinical development since 2002 as a candidate vaccine to boost BCG-induced protection. A recent efficacy trial in South African infants failed to demonstrate enhancement of protection over BCG alone. The immunogenicity was lower than that seen in UK trials.
The enzyme Indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) catalyses the first and rate-limiting step in the breakdown of the essential amino acid tryptophan. T cells are dependent on tryptophan and IDO activity suppresses T-cell proliferation and function.
Using samples collected during phase I trials with MVA85A across the UK and South Africa we have investigated the relationship between vaccine immunogenicity and IDO using IFN-γ ELISPOT, qPCR and liquid chromatography mass spectrometry.
We demonstrate an IFN-γ dependent increase in IDO mRNA expression in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) following MVA85A vaccination in UK subjects. IDO mRNA correlates positively with the IFN-γ ELISPOT response indicating that vaccine specific induction of IDO in PBMC is unlikely to limit the development of vaccine specific immunity. IDO activity in the serum of volunteers from the UK and South Africa was also assessed. There was no change in serum IDO activity following MVA85A vaccination. However, we observed higher baseline IDO activity in South African volunteers when compared to UK volunteers. In both UK and South African serum samples, baseline IDO activity negatively correlated with vaccine-specific IFN-γ responses, suggesting that IDO activity may impair the generation of a CD4+ T cell memory response.
Baseline IDO activity was higher in South African volunteers when compared to UK volunteers, which may represent a potential mechanism for the observed variation in vaccine immunogenicity in South African and UK populations and may have important implications for future vaccination strategies.
Trial registration
Trials are registered at; UK cohort NCT00427830, UK LTBI cohort NCT00456183, South African cohort NCT00460590, South African LTBI cohort NCT00480558.
PMCID: PMC4265419  PMID: 25466778
Indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase; Tryptophan; Kynurenine; Tuberculosis; Vaccine; MVA85A; BCG; Interferon-γ; LC-MS
2.  Heterologous vaccination against human tuberculosis modulates antigen-specific CD4 T cell function 
European journal of immunology  2013;43(9):10.1002/eji.201343454.
Heterologous prime-boost strategies hold promise for vaccination against tuberculosis (TB). However, the T cell characteristics required for protection are not known. We proposed that boost vaccines should induce long-lived functional and phenotypic changes to T cells primed by BCG and/or natural exposure to mycobacteria.
We characterized changes among specific CD4 T cells after vaccination with the MVA85A vaccine in adults, adolescents and children.
CD4 T cells identified with Ag85A peptide-bearing HLA class II tetramers, were characterized by flow cytometry. We also measured proliferative potential and cytokine expression of Ag85A-specific CD4 T cells.
During the effector phase, MVA85A-induced specific CD4 T cells co-expressed IFN-γ and IL-2, skin homing integrins and the activation marker CD38. This was followed by contraction and a transition to predominantly IL-2-expressing, CD45RACCR7+CD27+ or CD45RA+CCR7+CD27+ specific CD4 T cells. These surface phenotypes were similar to Ag85A-specific T cells prior to MVA85A. However, functional differences were observed post-vaccination: specific proliferative capacity was markedly higher after 6-12 months than before vaccination.
Our data suggest that MVA85A vaccination may modulate Ag85A-specific CD4 T cell function, resulting in greater recall potential. Importantly, surface phenotypes commonly used as proxies for memory T cell function did not associate with functional effects of vaccination.
PMCID: PMC3816254  PMID: 23737382
proliferation; MVA85A; vaccine; T cells; HLA class II tetramer
3.  Safety and immunogenicity of a candidate tuberculosis vaccine MVA85A delivered by aerosol in BCG-vaccinated healthy adults: a phase 1, double-blind, randomised controlled trial 
The Lancet. Infectious Diseases  2014;14(10):939-946.
Intradermal MVA85A, a candidate vaccine against tuberculosis, induces high amounts of Ag85A-specific CD4 T cells in adults who have already received the BCG vaccine, but aerosol delivery of this vaccine might offer immunological and logistical advantages. We did a phase 1 double-blind trial to compare the safety and immunogenicity of aerosol-administered and intradermally administered MVA85A
In this phase 1, double-blind, proof-of-concept trial, 24 eligible BCG-vaccinated healthy UK adults were randomly allocated (1:1) by sequentially numbered, sealed, opaque envelopes into two groups: aerosol MVA85A and intradermal saline placebo or intradermal MVA85A and aerosol saline placebo. Participants, the bronchoscopist, and immunologists were masked to treatment assignment. The primary outcome was safety, assessed by the frequency and severity of vaccine-related local and systemic adverse events. The secondary outcome was immunogenicity assessed with laboratory markers of cell-mediated immunity in blood and bronchoalveolar lavage samples. Safety and immunogenicity were assessed for 24 weeks after vaccination. Immunogenicity to both insert Ag85A and vector modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) was assessed by ex-vivo interferon-γ ELISpot and serum ELISAs. Since all participants were randomised and vaccinated according to protocol, our analyses were per protocol. This trial is registered with, number NCT01497769.
Both administration routes were well tolerated and immunogenic. Respiratory adverse events were rare and mild. Intradermal MVA85A was associated with expected mild local injection-site reactions. Systemic adverse events did not differ significantly between the two groups. Three participants in each group had no vaccine-related systemic adverse events; fatigue (11/24 [46%]) and headache (10/24 [42%]) were the most frequently reported symptoms. Ag85A-specific systemic responses were similar across groups. Ag85A-specific CD4 T cells were detected in bronchoalveolar lavage cells from both groups and responses were higher in the aerosol group than in the intradermal group. MVA-specific cellular responses were detected in both groups, whereas serum antibodies to MVA were only detectable after intradermal administration of the vaccine.
Further clinical trials assessing the aerosol route of vaccine delivery are merited for tuberculosis and other respiratory pathogens.
The Wellcome Trust and Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals Biomedical Research Centre.
PMCID: PMC4178237  PMID: 25151225
4.  The association between the ratio of monocytes:lymphocytes at age 3 months and risk of tuberculosis (TB) in the first two years of life 
BMC Medicine  2014;12:120.
Recent transcriptomic studies revived a hypothesis suggested by historical studies in rabbits that the ratio of peripheral blood monocytes to lymphocytes (ML) is associated with risk of tuberculosis (TB) disease. Recent data confirmed the hypothesis in cattle and in adults infected with HIV.
We tested this hypothesis in 1,336 infants (540 HIV-infected, 796 HIV-exposed, uninfected (HEU)) prospectively followed in a randomized controlled trial of isoniazid prophylaxis in Southern Africa, the IMPAACT P1041 study. We modeled the relationship between ML ratio at enrollment (91 to 120 days after birth) and TB disease or death in HIV-infected children and latent Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) infection, TB disease or death in HEU children within 96 weeks (with 12 week window) of randomization. Infants were followed-up prospectively and routinely assessed for MTB exposure and outcomes. Cox proportional hazards models allowing for non-linear associations were used; in all cases linear models were the most parsimonious.
Increasing ML ratio at baseline was significantly associated with TB disease/death within two years (adjusted hazard ratio (HR) 1.17 per unit increase in ML ratio; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.01 to 1.34; P = 0.03). Neither monocyte count nor lymphocyte counts alone were associated with TB disease. The association was not statistically dissimilar between HIV infected and HEU children. Baseline ML ratio was associated with composite endpoints of TB disease and death and/or TB infection. It was strongest when restricted to probable and definite TB disease (HR 1.50; 95% CI 1.19 to 1.89; P = 0.006). Therefore, per 0.1 unit increase in the ML ratio at three to four months of age, the hazard of probable or definite TB disease before two years was increased by roughly 4% (95% CI 1.7% to 6.6%).
Elevated ML ratio at three- to four-months old is associated with increased hazards of TB disease before two years among children in Southern Africa. While significant, the modest effect size suggests that the ML ratio plays a modest role in predicting TB disease-free survival; its utility may, therefore, be limited to combination with existing tools to stratify TB risk, or to inform underlying pathophysiologic determinants of TB disease.
PMCID: PMC4223414  PMID: 25034889
Tuberculosis; HIV; combination antiretroviral therapy; monocytes; lymphocytes; ML ratio
5.  Process of Assay Selection and Optimization for the Study of Case and Control Samples from a Phase IIb Efficacy Trial of a Candidate Tuberculosis Vaccine, MVA85A 
The first phase IIb safety and efficacy trial of a new tuberculosis vaccine since that for BCG was completed in October 2012. BCG-vaccinated South African infants were randomized to receive modified vaccinia virus Ankara, expressing the Mycobacterium tuberculosis antigen 85A (MVA85A), or placebo. MVA85A did not significantly boost the protective effect of BCG. Cryopreserved samples provide a unique opportunity for investigating the correlates of the risk of tuberculosis disease in this population. Due to the limited amount of sample available from each infant, preliminary work was necessary to determine which assays and conditions give the most useful information. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) were stimulated with antigen 85A (Ag85A) and purified protein derivative from M. tuberculosis in an ex vivo gamma interferon (IFN-γ) enzyme-linked immunosorbent spot assay (ELISpot) and a Ki67 proliferation assay. The effects of a 2-h or overnight rest of thawed PBMC on ELISpot responses and cell populations were determined. Both the ELISpot and Ki67 assays detected differences between the MVA85A and placebo groups, and the results correlated well. The cell numbers and ELISpot responses decreased significantly after an overnight rest, and surface flow cytometry showed a significant loss of CD4+ and CD8+ T cells. Of the infants tested, 50% had a positive ELISpot response to a single pool of flu, Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), and cytomegalovirus (CMV) (FEC) peptides. This pilot work has been essential in determining the assays and conditions to be used in the correlate study. Moving forward, PBMC will be rested for 2 h before assay setup. The ELISpot assay, performed in duplicate, will be selected over the Ki67 assay, and further work is needed to evaluate the effect of high FEC responses on vaccine-induced immunity and susceptibility to tuberculosis disease.
PMCID: PMC4097435  PMID: 24828094
6.  Inflammatory and myeloid-associated gene expression before and one day after infant vaccination with MVA85A correlates with induction of a T cell response 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2014;14:314.
Tuberculosis (TB) remains a global health problem, with vaccination likely to be a necessary part of a successful control strategy. Results of the first Phase 2b efficacy trial of a candidate vaccine, MVA85A, evaluated in BCG-vaccinated infants were published last year. Although no improvement in efficacy above BCG alone was seen, cryopreserved samples from this trial provide an opportunity to study the immune response to vaccination in this population.
We investigated blood samples taken before vaccination (baseline) and one and 28 days post-vaccination with MVA85A or placebo (Candin). The IFN-γ ELISpot assay was performed at baseline and on day 28 to quantify the adaptive response to Ag85A peptides. Gene expression analysis was performed at all three timepoints to identify early gene signatures predictive of the magnitude of the subsequent adaptive T cell response using the significance analysis of microarrays (SAM) statistical package and gene set enrichment analysis.
One day post-MVA85A, there is an induction of inflammatory pathways compared to placebo samples. Modules associated with myeloid cells and inflammation pre- and one day post-MVA85A correlate with a higher IFN-γ ELISpot response post-vaccination. By contrast, previous work done in UK adults shows early inflammation in this population is not associated with a strong T cell response but that induction of regulatory pathways inversely correlates with the magnitude of the T cell response. This may be indicative of important mechanistic differences in how T cell responses develop in these two populations following vaccination with MVA85A.
The results suggest the capacity of MVA85A to induce a strong innate response is key to the initiation of an adaptive immune response in South African infants but induction of regulatory pathways may be more important in UK adults. Understanding differences in immune response to vaccination between populations is likely to be an important aspect of developing successful vaccines and vaccination strategies.
Trial registration number NCT00953927
PMCID: PMC4061512  PMID: 24912498
Tuberculosis; Vaccine; Innate immunity; Transcriptomics; MVA85A
7.  Tuberculin Skin Testing and Treatment Modulates Interferon-Gamma Release Assay Results for Latent Tuberculosis in Migrants 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e97366.
Identifying latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) in people migrating from TB endemic regions to low incidence countries is an important control measure. However, no prospective longitudinal comparisons between diagnostic tests used in such migrant populations are available.
To compare commercial interferon (IFN)-gamma release assays (IGRAs) and the tuberculin skin test (TST) for diagnosing LTBI in a migrant population, and the influence of antecedent TST and LTBI treatment on IGRA performance.
Materials and Methods
This cohort study, performed from February to September 2012, assessed longitudinal IGRA and TST responses in Nepalese military recruits recently arrived in the UK. Concomitant T-SPOT.TB, QFT-GIT and TST were performed on day 0, with IGRAs repeated 7 and 200 days later, following treatment for LTBI if necessary.
166 Nepalese recruits were prospectively assessed. At entry, 21 individuals were positive by T-SPOT.TB and 8 individuals by QFT-GIT. There was substantial agreement between TST and T-SPOT.TB positives at baseline (71.4% agreement; κ = 0.62; 95% CI:0.44–0.79), but only moderate concordance between positive IGRAs (38.1% agreement; κ = 0.46; 95% CI:0.25–0.67). When reassessed 7 days following TST, numbers of IGRA-positive individuals changed from 8 to 23 for QFT-GIT (p = 0.0074) and from 21 to 23 for T-SPOT.TB (p = 0.87). This resulted in an increase in IGRA concordance to substantial (64.3% agreement; κ = 0.73; 95% CI:0.58-0.88). Thus, in total on day 0 and day 7 after testing, 29 out of 166 participants (17.5%) provided a positive IGRA and of these 13 were TST negative. Two hundred days after the study commenced and three months after treatment for LTBI was completed by those who were given chemoprophylaxis, 23 and 21 participants were positive by T-SPOT.TB or QFT-GIT respectively. When individual responses were examined longitudinally within this population 35% of the day 7 QFT-GIT-positive, and 19% T-SPOT.TB-positive individuals, were negative by IGRA. When the change in the levels of secreted IFN-γ was examined after chemoprophylaxis the median levels were found to have fallen dramatically by 77.3% from a pre-treatment median concentration of IFN-γ 2.73 IU/ml to a post-treatment median concentration IFN-γ 0.62 (p = 0.0002).
This study suggests differences in the capacity of commercially available IGRAs to identify LTBI in the absence of antecedent TST and that IGRAs, in the time periods examined, may not be the optimal tests to determine the success of chemoprophylaxis for LTBI.
PMCID: PMC4016319  PMID: 24816576
8.  Inhibition of Mycobacterial Growth In Vitro following Primary but Not Secondary Vaccination with Mycobacterium bovis BCG 
Clinical and Vaccine Immunology : CVI  2013;20(11):1683-1689.
Despite the widespread use of the Mycobacterium bovis BCG vaccine, there are more than 9 million new cases of tuberculosis (TB) every year, and there is an urgent need for better TB vaccines. TB vaccine candidates are selected for evaluation based in part on the detection of an antigen-specific gamma interferon (IFN-γ) response. The measurement of mycobacterial growth in blood specimens obtained from subjects immunized with investigational TB vaccines may be a better in vitro correlate of in vivo vaccine efficacy. We performed a clinical study with 30 United Kingdom adults who were followed for 6 months to evaluate the abilities of both a whole-blood- and a novel peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC)-based mycobacterial growth inhibition assay to measure a response to primary vaccination and revaccination with BCG. Using cryopreserved PBMCs, we observed a significant improvement in mycobacterial growth inhibition following primary vaccination but no improvement in growth inhibition following revaccination with BCG (P < 0.05). Mycobacterial growth inhibition following primary BCG vaccination was not correlated with purified protein derivative (PPD) antigen-specific IFN-γ enzyme-linked immunospot (ELISPOT) responses. We demonstrate that a mycobacterial growth inhibition assay can detect improved capacity to control growth following primary immunization, but not revaccination, with BCG. This is the first study to demonstrate that an in vitro growth inhibition assay can identify a difference in vaccine responses by comparing both primary and secondary BCG vaccinations, suggesting that in vitro growth inhibition assays may serve as better surrogates of clinical efficacy than the assays currently used for the assessment of candidate TB vaccines.
PMCID: PMC3837779  PMID: 23986316
9.  Non-tuberculous mycobacteria have diverse effects on BCG efficacy against Mycobacterium tuberculosis☆ 
The efficacy of Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccination in protection against pulmonary tuberculosis (TB) is highly variable between populations. One possible explanation for this variability is increased exposure of certain populations to non-tuberculous mycobacteria (NTM). This study used a murine model to determine the effect that exposure to NTM after BCG vaccination had on the efficacy of BCG against aerosol Mycobacterium tuberculosis challenge. The effects of administering live Mycobacterium avium (MA) by an oral route and killed MA by a systemic route on BCG-induced protection were evaluated. CD4+ and CD8+ T cell responses were profiled to define the immunological mechanisms underlying any effect on BCG efficacy. BCG efficacy was enhanced by exposure to killed MA administered by a systemic route; T helper 1 and T helper 17 responses were associated with increased protection. BCG efficacy was reduced by exposure to live MA administered by the oral route; T helper 2 cells were associated with reduced protection. These findings demonstrate that exposure to NTM can induce opposite effects on BCG efficacy depending on route of exposure and viability of NTM. A reproducible model of NTM exposure would be valuable in the evaluation of novel TB vaccine candidates.
PMCID: PMC4066954  PMID: 24572168
Bacillus Calmette-Geurin; Non-tuberculous mycobacteria; Mycobacterium avium; Tuberculosis; Mouse model
10.  A review of preclinical animal models utilised for TB vaccine evaluation in the context of recent human efficacy data☆ 
There is an urgent need for an improved TB vaccine. Vaccine development is hindered by the lack of immune correlates and uncertain predictive value of preclinical animal models. As data become available from human efficacy trials, there is an opportunity to evaluate the predictive value of the criteria used to select candidate vaccines. Here we review the efficacy in animal models of the MVA85A candidate vaccine in light of recent human efficacy data and propose refinements to the preclinical models with the aim of increasing their predictive value for human efficacy.
PMCID: PMC3969587  PMID: 24369986
Pre-clinical; Vaccine; Efficacy; Clinical; MVA85A
11.  The Candidate TB Vaccine, MVA85A, Induces Highly Durable Th1 Responses 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e87340.
Vaccination against tuberculosis (TB) should provide long-term protective immunity against Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M.tb). The current TB vaccine, Bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG), protects against disseminated childhood TB, but protection against lung TB in adolescents and adults is variable and mostly poor. One potential reason for the limited durability of protection may be waning of immunity through gradual attrition of BCG-induced T cells. We determined if a MVA85A viral-vector boost could enhance the durability of mycobacteria-specific T cell responses above those induced by BCG alone.
We describe a long-term follow-up study of persons previously vaccinated with MVA85A. We performed a medical history and clinical examination, a tuberculin skin test and measured vaccine-specific T cell responses in persons previously enrolled as adults, adolescents, children or infants into three different Phase II trials, between 2005 and 2011.
Of 252 potential participants, 183 (72.6%) consented and completed the study visit. Vaccine-induced Ag85A-specific CD4+ T cell responses were remarkably persistent in healthy, HIV-uninfected adults, adolescents, children and infants, up to 6 years after MVA85A vaccination. Specific CD4+ T cells expressed surface markers consistent with either CD45RA−CCR7+ central memory or CD45RA−CCR7− effector memory T cells. Similarly durable Ag85A-specific CD4+ T cell responses were detected in HIV-infected persons who were on successful antiretroviral therapy when MVA85A was administered. By contrast, Ag85A-specific CD4+ T cell frequencies in untreated MVA85A-vaccinated HIV-infected persons were mostly undetectable 3–5 years after vaccination.
MVA85A induces remarkably durable T cell responses in immunocompetent persons. However, results from a recent phase IIb trial of MVA85A, conducted in infants from the same geographic area and study population, showed no vaccine efficacy, suggesting that these durable T cell responses do not enhance BCG-induced protection against TB in infants.
PMCID: PMC3911992  PMID: 24498312
13.  Evaluation of a Human BCG Challenge Model to Assess Antimycobacterial Immunity Induced by BCG and a Candidate Tuberculosis Vaccine, MVA85A, Alone and in Combination 
The Journal of Infectious Diseases  2013;209(8):1259-1268.
Background. A new vaccine is urgently needed to combat tuberculosis. However, without a correlate of protection, selection of the vaccines to take forward into large-scale efficacy trials is difficult. Use of bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) as a surrogate for human Mycobacterium tuberculosis challenge is a novel model that could aid selection.
Methods. Healthy adults were assigned to groups A and B (BCG-naive) or groups C and D (BCG-vaccinated). Groups B and D received candidate tuberculosis vaccine MVA85A. Participants were challenged with intradermal BCG 4 weeks after those who received MVA85A. Skin biopsies of the challenge site were taken 2 weeks post challenge and BCG load quantified by culture and quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR).
Results. Volunteers with a history of BCG showed some degree of protective immunity to challenge, having lower BCG loads compared with volunteers without prior BCG, regardless of MVA85A status. There was a significant inverse correlation between antimycobacterial immunity at peak response after MVA85A and BCG load detected by qPCR.
Conclusion. Our results support previous findings that this BCG challenge model is able to detect differences in antimycobacterial immunity induced by vaccination and could aid in the selection of candidate tuberculosis vaccines for field efficacy testing.
Clinical Trials Registration NCT01194180.
PMCID: PMC3969545  PMID: 24273174
tuberculosis; human BCG challenge; vaccine; MVA85A
14.  A Multi-Antigenic Adenoviral-Vectored Vaccine Improves BCG-Induced Protection of Goats against Pulmonary Tuberculosis Infection and Prevents Disease Progression 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(11):e81317.
The “One world, one health” initiative emphasizes the need for new strategies to control human and animal tuberculosis (TB) based on their shared interface. A good example would be the development of novel universal vaccines against Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTBC) infection. This study uses the goat model, a natural TB host, to assess the protective effectiveness of a new vaccine candidate in combination with Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccine.
Thirty-three goat kids were divided in three groups: Group 1) vaccinated with BCG (week 0), Group 2) vaccinated with BCG and boosted 8 weeks later with a recombinant adenovirus expressing the MTBC antigens Ag85A, TB10.4, TB9.8 and Acr2 (AdTBF), and Group 3) unvaccinated controls. Later on, an endobronchial challenge with a low dose of M. caprae was performed (week 15). After necropsy (week 28), the pulmonary gross pathology was quantified using high resolution Computed Tomography. Small granulomatous pulmonary lesions (< 0.5 cm diameter) were also evaluated through a comprehensive qualitative histopathological analysis. M. caprae CFU were counted from pulmonary lymph nodes.
The AdTBF improved the effects of BCG reducing gross lesion volume and bacterial load, as well as increasing weight gain. The number of Ag85A-specific gamma interferon-producing memory T-cells was identified as a predictor of vaccine efficacy. Specific cellular and humoral responses were measured throughout the 13-week post-challenge period, and correlated with the severity of lesions.
Unvaccinated goats exhibited the typical pathological features of active TB in humans and domestic ruminants, while vaccinated goats showed only very small lesions. The data presented in this study indicate that multi-antigenic adenoviral vectored vaccines boosts protection conferred by vaccination with BCG.
PMCID: PMC3836889  PMID: 24278420
15.  Cholera Toxin Enhances Vaccine-Induced Protection against Mycobacterium Tuberculosis Challenge in Mice 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e78312.
Interleukin (IL)-17 is emerging as an important cytokine in vaccine-induced protection against tuberculosis disease in animal models. Here we show that compared to parenteral delivery, BCG delivered mucosally enhances cytokine production, including interferon gamma and IL-17, in the lungs. Furthermore, we find that cholera toxin, delivered mucosally along with BCG, further enhances IL-17 production by CD4+ T cells over mucosal BCG alone both in the lungs and systemically. This boosting effect of CT is also observed using a vaccine regimen of BCG followed by the candidate vaccine MVA85A. Using a murine Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M.tb) aerosol challenge model, we demonstrate the ability of cholera toxin delivered at the time of a priming BCG vaccination to improve protection against tuberculosis disease in a manner at least partially dependent on the observed increase in IL-17. This observed increase in IL-17 in the lungs has no adverse effect on lung pathology following M.tb challenge, indicating that IL-17 can safely be boosted in murine lungs in a vaccine/M.tb challenge setting.
PMCID: PMC3806838  PMID: 24194918
17.  Ratio of Monocytes to Lymphocytes in Peripheral Blood Identifies Adults at Risk of Incident Tuberculosis Among HIV-Infected Adults Initiating Antiretroviral Therapy 
The Journal of Infectious Diseases  2013;209(4):500-509.
Background. Eight decades ago, the ratio of monocytes to lymphocytes (hereafter, the “ML ratio”) was noted to affect outcomes of mycobacterial infection in rabbits. Recent transcriptomic studies support a role for relative proportions of myeloid and lymphoid transcripts in tuberculosis outcomes. The ML ratio in peripheral blood is known to be governed by hematopoietic stem cells with distinct biases.
Methods. The predictive value of the baseline ML ratio was modeled in 2 prospective cohorts of HIV-infected adults starting cART in South Africa (primary cohort, 1862 participants; replication cohort, 345 participants). Incident tuberculosis was diagnosed with clinical, radiographic, and microbiologic methods per contemporary guidelines. Kaplan-Meier survival analyses and Cox proportional hazards modeling were conducted.
Results. The incidence rate of tuberculosis differed significantly by baseline ML ratio: 32.61 (95% confidence interval [CI], 15.38–61.54), 16.36 (95% CI, 12.39–21.23), and 51.80 (95% CI, 23.10–101.71) per 1000 patient-years for ML ratios of less than the 5th percentile, between the 5th and 95th percentiles, and greater than the 95th percentile, respectively (P = .007). Neither monocyte counts nor lymphocyte counts alone were associated with tuberculosis. After adjustment for sex, World Health Organization human immunodeficiency virus disease stage, CD4+ T-cell counts, and previous history of tuberculosis, hazards of disease were significantly higher for patients with ML ratios of less than the 5th percentile or greater than the 95th percentile (adjusted hazard ratio, 2.47; 95% CI, 1.39–4.40; P = .002).
Conclusions. The ML ratio may be a useful, readily available tool to stratify the risk of tuberculosis and suggests involvement of hematopoietic stem cell bias in tuberculosis pathogenesis.
PMCID: PMC3903371  PMID: 24041796
tuberculosis; HIV; combination antiretroviral therapy; monocytes; lymphocytes; ML ratio
18.  Roles for Treg Expansion and HMGB1 Signaling through the TLR1-2-6 Axis in Determining the Magnitude of the Antigen-Specific Immune Response to MVA85A 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(7):e67922.
A better understanding of the relationships between vaccine, immunogenicity and protection from disease would greatly facilitate vaccine development. Modified vaccinia virus Ankara expressing antigen 85A (MVA85A) is a novel tuberculosis vaccine candidate designed to enhance responses induced by BCG. Antigen-specific interferon-γ (IFN-γ) production is greatly enhanced by MVA85A, however the variability between healthy individuals is extensive. In this study we have sought to characterize the early changes in gene expression in humans following vaccination with MVA85A and relate these to long-term immunogenicity. Two days post-vaccination, MVA85A induces a strong interferon and inflammatory response. Separating volunteers into high and low responders on the basis of T cell responses to 85A peptides measured during the trial, an expansion of circulating CD4+ CD25+ Foxp3+ cells is seen in low but not high responders. Additionally, high levels of Toll-like Receptor (TLR) 1 on day of vaccination are associated with an increased response to antigen 85A. In a classification model, combined expression levels of TLR1, TICAM2 and CD14 on day of vaccination and CTLA4 and IL2Rα two days post-vaccination can classify high and low responders with over 80% accuracy. Furthermore, administering MVA85A in mice with anti-TLR2 antibodies may abrogate high responses, and neutralising antibodies to TLRs 1, 2 or 6 or HMGB1 decrease CXCL2 production during in vitro stimulation with MVA85A. HMGB1 is released into the supernatant following atimulation with MVA85A and we propose this signal may be the trigger activating the TLR pathway. This study suggests an important role for an endogenous ligand in innate sensing of MVA and demonstrates the importance of pattern recognition receptors and regulatory T cell responses in determining the magnitude of the antigen specific immune response to vaccination with MVA85A in humans.
PMCID: PMC3700883  PMID: 23844129
19.  Two Doses of Candidate TB Vaccine MVA85A in Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) Naïve Subjects Gives Comparable Immunogenicity to One Dose in ART+ Subjects 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(6):e67177.
Tuberculosis (TB) is a global public health problem exacerbated by the HIV epidemic. Here we evaluate a candidate TB vaccine, MVA85A, in a Phase I study in HIV-infected adults in Senegal. 24 patients were enrolled: Group 1∶12, antiretroviral therapy (ART) naïve, adults, with CD4 counts >300 and HIV RNA load <100 000 copies/ml. Group 2∶12 adults, stable on ART, with CD4 counts >300, and an undetectable HIV RNA load. Safety was evaluated by occurrence of local and systemic adverse events (AEs) and by monitoring of CD4 count, HIV RNA load, haematology and biochemistry. Immunogenicity was evaluated by ex-vivo interferon-gamma ELISpot assay. 87.7% of AEs were mild; 11.6% were moderate; and 0.7% were severe. 29.2% of AEs were systemic; 70.8% were expected local AEs. There were no vaccine-related Serious Adverse Events (SAEs) or clinically significant effects on HIV RNA load or CD4 count. In ART naive subjects, the first MVA85A immunisation induced a significant immune response at 1 and 4 weeks post-immunisation, which contracted to baseline by 12 weeks. Durability of immunogenicity in subjects on ART persisted out to 24 weeks post-vaccination. A second dose of MVA85A at 12 months enhanced immunogenicity in ART naïve subjects. Subjects on ART had higher responses after the first vaccination compared with ART naïve subjects; responses were comparable after 2 immunisations. In conclusion, MVA85A is well-tolerated and immunogenic in HIV-infected subjects in Senegal. A two dose regimen in ART naïve subjects is comparable in immunogenicity to a single dose in subjects on ART. trial identifier NCT00731471.
PMCID: PMC3696007  PMID: 23840618
20.  Determining the validity of hospital laboratory reference intervals for healthy young adults participating in early clinical trials of candidate vaccines 
Human Vaccines & Immunotherapeutics  2013;9(8):1741-1751.
This was a retrospective study to determine the validity of institutional reference intervals for interpreting biochemistry and hematology results in healthy adults in the context of clinical trials of preventive vaccines. An example population of 974 healthy adults participating in clinical trials at the Jenner Institute, Oxford, UK, between 1999 and 2009 was studied. Methods for calculating the central 95% ranges and determining the coefficients of within person variation were demonstrated. Recommendations have been made as to how these data can be usefully applied to the interpretation of blood results in healthy adult subjects for the purposes of clinical trial inclusion decisions and post-vaccination safety monitoring.
PMCID: PMC3906276  PMID: 23733037
healthy young adult subjects; clinical trials; candidate vaccines; haematological and biochemical reference intervals; pre-and post-intervention safety analysis
21.  Lessons learnt from the first efficacy trial of a new infant tuberculosis vaccine since BCG 
New tuberculosis (TB) vaccines are being developed to combat the global epidemic. A phase IIb trial of a candidate vaccine, MVA85A, was conducted in a high burden setting in South Africa to evaluate proof-of-concept efficacy for prevention of TB in infants.
To describe the study design and implementation lessons from an infant TB vaccine efficacy trial.
This was a randomised, controlled, double-blind clinical trial comparing the safety and efficacy of MVA85A to Candin control administered to 4–6-month-old, BCG-vaccinated, HIV-negative infants at a rural site in South Africa. Infants were followed up for 15–39 months for incident TB disease based on pre-specified endpoints.
2797 infants were enrolled over 22 months. Factors adversely affecting recruitment and the solutions that were implemented are discussed. Slow case accrual led to six months extension of trial follow up.
The clinical, regulatory and research environment for modern efficacy trials of new TB vaccines are substantially different to that when BCG vaccine was first evaluated in infants. Future infant TB vaccine trials will need to allocate sufficient resources and optimise operational efficiency. A stringent TB case definition is necessary to maximize specificity, and TB case accrual must be monitored closely.
PMCID: PMC3608032  PMID: 23410889
BCG; Vaccine; Tuberculosis; Lessons learnt; Implementation
22.  Optimising Immunogenicity with Viral Vectors: Mixing MVA and HAdV-5 Expressing the Mycobacterial Antigen Ag85A in a Single Injection 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(12):e50447.
The Bacillus Calmette - Guerin (BCG) vaccine provides a critical but limited defense against Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M.tb). More than 60 years after the widespread introduction of BCG, there is an urgent need for a better vaccine. A large body of pre-clinical research continues to support ongoing clinical trials to assess whether viral vectors expressing M.tb antigens that are shared by BCG and M.tb, can be used alongside BCG to enhance protection. A major focus involves using multiple unique viral vectors to limit anti-vector immunity and thereby enhance responses to the insert antigen delivered. The successful introduction of viral vector vaccines to target M.tb and other pathogens will be reliant on reducing the costs when using multiple vectors and inhibiting the development of unwanted anti-vector responses that interfere with the response to insert antigen. This study examines methods to reduce the logistical costs of vaccination by mixing different viral vectors that share the same insert antigen in one vaccine; and whether combining different viral vectors reduces anti-vector immunity to improve immunogenicity to the insert antigen. Here we show that a homologous prime-boost regimen with a mixture of MVA (Modified Vaccinia virus Ankara) and Ad5 (human adenovirus type 5) vectors both expressing Ag85A in a single vaccine preparation is able to reduce anti-vector immunity, compared with a homologous prime-boost regimen with either vector alone. However, the level of immunogenicity induced by the homologous mixture remained comparable to that induced with single viral vectors and was less immunogenic than a heterologous Ad5 prime-MVA-boost regimen. These findings advance the understanding of how anti-vector immunity maybe reduced in viral vector vaccination regimens. Furthermore, an insight is provided to the impact on vaccine immunogenicity from altering vaccination methods to reduce the logistical demands of using separate vaccine preparations in the field.
PMCID: PMC3528774  PMID: 23284637
23.  Safety and immunogenicity of an FP9-vectored candidate tuberculosis vaccine (FP85A), alone and with candidate vaccine MVA85A in BCG-vaccinated healthy adults 
The safety and immunogenicity of a new candidate tuberculosis (TB) vaccine, FP85A was evaluated alone and in heterologous prime-boost regimes with another candidate TB vaccine, MVA85A. This was an open label, non-controlled, non-randomized Phase I clinical trial. Healthy previously BCG-vaccinated adult subjects were enrolled sequentially into three groups and vaccinated with FP85A alone, or both FP85A and MVA85A, with a four week interval between vaccinations. Passive and active data on adverse events were collected. Immunogenicity was evaluated by Enzyme Linked Immunospot (ELISpot), flow cytometry and Enzyme Linked Immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Most adverse events were mild and there were no vaccine-related serious adverse events. FP85A vaccination did not enhance antigen 85A-specific cellular immunity. When MVA85A vaccination was preceded by FP85A vaccination, cellular immune responses were lower compared with when MVA85A vaccination was the first immunisation. MVA85A vaccination, but not FP85A vaccination, induced anti-MVA IgG antibodies. Both MVA85A and FP85A vaccinations induced anti-FP9 IgG antibodies. In conclusion, FP85A vaccination was well tolerated but did not induce antigen-specific cellular immune responses. We hypothesize that FP85A induced anti-FP9 IgG antibodies with cross-reactivity for MVA85A, which may have mediated inhibition of the immune response to subsequent MVA85A. identification number: NCT00653770
PMCID: PMC3667946  PMID: 23143773
phase I clinical trial; tuberculosis vaccines; heterologous prime-boost regimes; poxvirus-vectored subunit vaccines
24.  A Phase IIa Trial of the New Tuberculosis Vaccine, MVA85A, in HIV- and/or Mycobacterium tuberculosis–infected Adults 
Rationale: Novel tuberculosis (TB) vaccines should be safe and effective in populations infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M.tb) and/or HIV for effective TB control.
Objective: To determine the safety and immunogenicity of MVA85A, a novel TB vaccine, among M.tb- and/or HIV-infected persons in a setting where TB and HIV are endemic.
Methods: An open-label, phase IIa trial was conducted in 48 adults with M.tb and/or HIV infection. Safety and immunogenicity were analyzed up to 52 weeks after intradermal vaccination with 5 × 107 plaque-forming units of MVA85A. Specific T-cell responses were characterized by IFN-γ enzyme-linked immunospot and whole blood intracellular cytokine staining assays.
Measurements and Main Results: MVA85A was well tolerated and no vaccine-related serious adverse events were recorded. MVA85A induced robust and durable response of mostly polyfunctional CD4+ T cells, coexpressing IFN-γ, tumor necrosis factor-α, and IL-2. Magnitudes of pre- and postvaccination T-cell responses were lower in HIV-infected, compared with HIV-uninfected, vaccinees. No significant effect of antiretroviral therapy on immunogenicity of MVA85A was observed.
Conclusions: MVA85A was safe and immunogenic in persons with HIV and/or M.tb infection. These results support further evaluation of safety and efficacy of this vaccine for prevention of TB in these target populations.
PMCID: PMC3326425  PMID: 22281831
tuberculosis; HIV-1; vaccine; MVA85A; clinical trial
25.  Effect of vaccine dose on the safety and immunogenicity of a candidate TB vaccine, MVA85A, in BCG vaccinated UK adults 
Vaccine  2012;30(38):5616-5624.
► We compared 3 doses of a the candidate TB vaccine MVA85A. ► All doses of the vaccine were safe and induced a Th1 type immune response. ► The strongest and most sustained response was seen with the highest dose of MVA85A. ► A high dose of 1 × 108 PFU of MVA85A is safe and induces sustained immunity.
A non-randomised, open-label, Phase I safety and immunogenicity dose-finding study to assess the safety and immunogenicity of the candidate TB vaccine Modified Vaccinia virus Ankara expressing Antigen 85A (MVA85A) from Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) in healthy adult volunteers previously vaccinated with BCG.
Healthy BCG-vaccinated volunteers were vaccinated with either 1 × 107 or 1 × 108 PFU of MVA85A. All adverse events were documented and antigen specific T cell responses were measured using an ex vivo IFN-γ ELISPOT assay. Safety and immunogenicity were compared between the 2 dose groups and with a previous trial in which a dose of 5 × 107 PFU MVA85A had been administered.
There were no serious adverse events recorded following administration of either 1 × 107 or 1 × 108 PFU of MVA85A. Systemic adverse events were more frequently reported following administration of 1 × 108 PFU of MVA85A when compared to either 5 × 107 or 1 × 107 PFU of MVA85A but were mild or moderate in severity and resolved completely within 7 days of immunisation. Antigen specific T cell responses as measured by the IFN-γ ELISPOT were significantly higher following immunisation in adults receiving 1 × 108 PFU compared to the 5 × 107 and 1 × 107 doses. Additionally, a broader range of Ag85A epitopes are detected following 1 × 108 PFU of MVA85A.
A higher dose of 1 × 108 PFU of MVA85A is well-tolerated, increases the frequency of IFN-γ secreting T cells detected following immunisation and broadens the range of Ag85A epitopes detected.
PMCID: PMC3424417  PMID: 22789508
Tuberculosis; Vaccine; BCG; MVA

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