BCG-induced increase in interferon-gamma response to mycobacterial antigens and efficacy of BCG vaccination in Malawi and the UK: two randomised controlled studies

Black, G. F. et al. (2002) BCG-induced increase in interferon-gamma response to mycobacterial antigens and efficacy of BCG vaccination in Malawi and the UK: two randomised controlled studies. Lancet, 359(9315), pp. 1393-1401. (doi:10.1016/s0140-6736(02)08353-8) (PMID:11978337)

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Abstract

Background: The efficacy of BCG vaccines against pulmonary tuberculosis varies between populations, showing no protection in Malawi but 50–80% protection in the UK. To investigate the mechanism underlying these differences, randomised controlled studies were set up to measure vaccine-induced immune responsiveness to mycobacterial antigens in both populations. Methods: 483 adolescents and young adults in Malawi and 180 adolescents in the UK were tested for interferon-gamma (IFN–γ) response to M tuberculosis purified protein derivative (PPD) in a whole blood assay, and for delayed type hypersensitivity (DTH) skin test response to tuberculin PPD, before and 1 year after receiving BCG (Glaxo 1077) vaccination or placebo or no vaccine. Findings: The percentages of the randomised individuals who showed IFN-γ and DTH responses were higher in Malawi than in the UK pre-vaccination—ie, 61% (331/546) versus 22% (47/213) for IFN-γ and 46% (236/517) versus 13% (27/211) for DTH. IFN-γ responses increased more in the UK than in Malawi, with 83% (101/122) and 78% (251/321) respectively of the vaccinated groups responding, with similar distributions in the two populations 1 year post-vaccination. The DTH response increased following vaccination in both locations, but to a greater extent in the UK than Malawi. The IFN-γ and DTH responses were strongly associated, except among vaccinees in Malawi. Interpretation: The magnitude of the BCG-attributable increase in IFN-γ responsiveness to M tuberculosis PPD, from before to 1 year post-vaccination, correlates better with the known levels of protection induced by immunisation with BCG than does the absolute value of the IFN-γ or DTH response after vaccination. It is likely that differential sensitisation due to exposure to environmental mycobacteria is the most important determinant of the observed differences in protection by BCG between populations.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:The work in Malawi was supported by The Wellcome Trust, and that in the UK by the British Leprosy Relief Association (LEPRA) and the Immunology of Mycobacteria (IMMYC) programme of WHO-TDR.
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Crampin, Professor Amelia
Authors: Black, G. F., Weir, R. E., Floyd, S., Bliss, L., Warndorff, D. K., Crampin, A. C., Ngwira, B., Sichali, L., Nazareth, B., Blackwell, J. M., Branson, K., Chaguluka, S. D., Donovan, L., Jarman, E., King, E., Fine, P. E. M., and Dockrell, H. M.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > Public Health
Journal Name:Lancet
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0140-6736
ISSN (Online):1474-547X

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