Vaccine platform for prevention of tuberculosis and mother-to-child transmission of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 through breastfeeding.
Im E-J., Saubi N., Virgili G., Sander C., Teoh D., Gatell JM., McShane H., Joseph J., Hanke T.
Most children in Africa receive their vaccine against tuberculosis at birth. Those infants born to human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1)-positive mothers are at high risk of acquiring HIV-1 infection through breastfeeding in the first weeks of their lives. Thus, the development of a vaccine which would protect newborns against both of these major global killers is a logical yet highly scientifically, ethically, and practically challenging aim. Here, a recombinant lysine auxotroph of Mycobacterium bovis bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG), a BCG strain that is safer than those currently used and expresses an African HIV-1 clade-derived immunogen, was generated and shown to be stable and to induce durable, high-quality HIV-1-specific CD4(+)- and CD8(+)-T-cell responses. Furthermore, when the recombinant BCG vaccine was used in a priming-boosting regimen with heterologous components, the HIV-1-specific responses provided protection against surrogate virus challenge, and the recombinant BCG vaccine alone protected against aerosol challenge with M. tuberculosis. Thus, inserting an HIV-1-derived immunogen into the scheduled BCG vaccine delivered at or soon after birth may prime HIV-1-specific responses, which can be boosted by natural exposure to HIV-1 in the breast milk and/or by a heterologous vaccine such as recombinant modified vaccinia virus Ankara delivering the same immunogen, and decrease mother-to-child transmission of HIV-1 during breastfeeding.