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PLoS Pathog. 2018 Oct 12;14(10):e1007305. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1007305. eCollection 2018 Oct.

Concurrent infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis confers robust protection against secondary infection in macaques.

Author information

1
Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States of America.
2
Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America.
3
Department of Pathology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America.
4
Statens Serum Institute, Copenhagen, Denmark.
5
Department of Pediatrics, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States of America.
6
Ragon Institute of Massachusetts General Hospital, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard, Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States of America.

Abstract

For many pathogens, including most targets of effective vaccines, infection elicits an immune response that confers significant protection against reinfection. There has been significant debate as to whether natural Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) infection confers protection against reinfection. Here we experimentally assessed the protection conferred by concurrent Mtb infection in macaques, a robust experimental model of human tuberculosis (TB), using a combination of serial imaging and Mtb challenge strains differentiated by DNA identifiers. Strikingly, ongoing Mtb infection provided complete protection against establishment of secondary infection in over half of the macaques and allowed near sterilizing bacterial control for those in which a secondary infection was established. By contrast, boosted BCG vaccination reduced granuloma inflammation but had no impact on early granuloma bacterial burden. These findings are evidence of highly effective concomitant mycobacterial immunity in the lung, which may inform TB vaccine design and development.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

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