Background: The efficacy of bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) may be enhanced by heterologous vaccination strategies that boost the BCG-primed immune response. One leading booster vaccine, MVA85A (where MVA denotes modified vaccinia virus Ankara), has shown promising safety and immunogenicity in human trials performed in the United Kingdom. We investigated the safety and immunogenicity of MVA85A in mycobacteria-exposed—but Mycobacterium tuberculosis-uninfected -healthy adults from a region of South Africa where TB is endemic.
Methods: Twenty-four adults were vaccinated with MVA85A. All subjects were monitored for 1 year for adverse events and for immunological assessment.
Results: MVA85A vaccination was well tolerated and induced potent T cell responses, as measured by interferon (IFN)-γ enzyme-linked immunospot assay, which exceeded prevaccination responses up to 364 days after vaccination. BCG-specific CD4<sup>+</sup>T cells boosted by MVA85A were comprised of multiple populations expressing combinations of IFN-γ, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, interleukin (IL)-2, and IL-17, as measured by polychromatic flow cytometry. IFN-γ-expressing and polyfunctional IFN-γ<sup>+</sup>TNF-α<sup>+</sup>IL-2<sup>+</sup>CD4<sup>+</sup>T cells were boosted during the peak BCG-specific response, which occurred 7 days after vaccination.
Conclusion: The excellent safety profile and quantitative and qualitative immunogenicity data strongly support further trials assessing the efficacy of MVA85A as a boosting vaccine in countries where TB is endemic.
Hawkridge, A.; Scriba, T.J.; Gelderbloem, S.; Smit, E.; Tameris, M.; Moyo, S.; Lang, T.; Veldsman, A.; Hatherill, M.; van der Merwe, L.; Fletcher, H.A.; Mahomed, H.; Hill, A.V.S.; Hanekom, W.A.; Hussey, G.D.; McShane, H. Safety and Immunogenicity of a New Tuberculosis Vaccine, MVA85A, in Healthy Adults in South Africa. Journal of Infectious Diseases (2008) 198 (4) 544-552. [DOI: 10.1086/590185]