Infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis continues to be a major public health burden in most developing parts of the world and efforts to develop effective strategies for containing the disease remain a priority. It has long been evident that effective mass vaccination programmes are a cost effective and efficient approach to controlling communicable diseases in a public health setting and tuberculosis (TB) continues to be a major target. One approach with increasing acceptance is based upon on live mycobacterial vaccines, either as recombinant BCG or rationally attenuated M. tuberculosis, thus generating a new live TB vaccine. The Geneva Consensus published in March 2005 set out the opinion on priorities and requirements for developing live mycobacterial vaccines for Phase I trials. In the intervening period much progress has been made in both preclinical and clinical development of new TB vaccines and has provided the impetus for organising the second Geneva Consensus (held at WHO headquarters, April 2009) to discuss issues, including:
i. Explore the regulatory requirements for live TB vaccines to enter Phase I trials, in particular those based on attenuated M. tuberculosis. Particular attention was paid to the characterisation and safety package likely to be required, including issues of attenuation, the presence of antibiotic resistance markers in live vaccines and the nature of any attenuated vaccine phenotype.
ii. To identify the general criteria for further clinical development from Phase I through to Phase III.
iii. Obtain a perspective of the regulatory landscape of developing countries where Phase II and III trials are to be held.
iv. Review manufacturing considerations for live TB vaccines and relevance of the WHO and European Pharmacopeia guidelines and requirements for BCG vaccine.
v. Consider requirements and associated issues related to the use of these new vaccines within an existing BCG vaccination programme.
Walker, K.B.; Brennan, M.J.; Ho, M.M.; Eskola, J.; Thiry, G.; Sadoff, J.; Dobbelaer, R.; Grode, L.; Liu, M.A.; Fruth, U.; Lambert, P.H. The second Geneva Consensus: Recommendations for novel live TB vaccines. Vaccine (2010) 28 (11) 2259-2270. [DOI: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2009.12.083]