Johnjoe McFadden of the University of Surrey in the United Kingdom will modify the BCG vaccine currently used against bovine and human tuberculosis, and develop a complementary diagnostic test that can distinguish between tuberculosis infection and vaccination. BCG is the only effective tuberculosis vaccine, however it interferes with diagnostic tests, preventing the distinction between infection and vaccination, which is important for control efforts in developing countries. They will identify genes in the BCG vaccine that can be removed without affecting its activity in cattle and determine which of those genes are potentially strongly immunogenic and therefore easy to detect. Selected genes will be used to develop a complementary diagnostic skin test that would not cross-react with the modified vaccine. Next steps would be developing and evaluating the vaccine and skin test in cattle and subsequently in humans.
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