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Tuberculosis (Edinb). 2012 Jan;92(1):105-11. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2011 Oct 1.

Assessment of vaccine testing at three laboratories using the guinea pig model of tuberculosis.

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Colorado State University, Department of Microbiology, Immunology & Pathology, 1682 Campus Delivery, Fort Collins, CO 80523, USA.


The guinea pig model of tuberculosis is used extensively in different locations to assess the efficacy of novel tuberculosis vaccines during pre-clinical development. Two key assays are used to measure protection against virulent challenge: a 30 day post-infection assessment of mycobacterial burden and long-term post-infection survival and pathology analysis. To determine the consistency and robustness of the guinea pig model for testing vaccines, a comparative assessment between three sites that are currently involved in testing tuberculosis vaccines from external providers was performed. Each site was asked to test two "subunit" type vaccines in their routine animal model as if testing vaccines from a provider. All sites performed a 30 day study, and one site also performed a long-term survival/pathology study. Despite some differences in experimental approach between the sites, such as the origin of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis strain and the type of aerosol exposure device used to infect the animals and the source of the guinea pigs, the data obtained between sites were consistent in regard to the ability of each "vaccine" tested to reduce the mycobacterial burden. The observations also showed that there was good concurrence between the results of short-term and long-term studies. This validation exercise means that efficacy data can be compared between sites.

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