A non-human primate in vitro functional assay for the early evaluation of TB vaccine candidates.
Tanner R., White AD., Boot C., Sombroek CC., O'Shea MK., Wright D., Hoogkamer E., Bitencourt J., Harris SA., Sarfas C., Wittenberg R., Satti I., Fletcher HA., Verreck FAW., Sharpe SA., McShane H.
We present a non-human primate mycobacterial growth inhibition assay (MGIA) using in vitro blood or cell co-culture with the aim of refining and expediting early tuberculosis vaccine testing. We have taken steps to optimise the assay using cryopreserved peripheral blood mononuclear cells, transfer it to end-user institutes, and assess technical and biological validity. Increasing cell concentration or mycobacterial input and co-culturing in static 48-well plates compared with rotating tubes improved intra-assay repeatability and sensitivity. Standardisation and harmonisation efforts resulted in high consistency agreements, with repeatability and intermediate precision <10% coefficient of variation (CV) and inter-site reproducibility <20% CV; although some systematic differences were observed. As proof-of-concept, we demonstrated ability to detect a BCG vaccine-induced improvement in growth inhibition in macaque samples, and a correlation between MGIA outcome and measures of protection from in vivo disease development following challenge with either intradermal BCG or aerosol/endobronchial Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M.tb) at a group and individual animal level.