Author(s): Jose Davila, Lucy A McNamara, Zhenhua Yang
The Bacille-Calmette Guérin (BCG) vaccine does not provide consistent protection against adult pulmonary tuberculosis (TB) worldwide. As novel TB vaccine candidates advance in studies and clinical trials, it will be critically important to evaluate their global coverage by assessing the impact of host and pathogen variability on vaccine efficacy. In this study, we focus on the impact that host genetic variability may have on the protective effect of TB vaccine candidates Ag85B-ESAT-6, Ag85B-TB10.4, and Mtb72f. We use open-source epitope binding prediction programs to evaluate the binding of vaccine epitopes to Class I HLA (A, B, and C) and Class II HLA (DRB1) alleles. Our findings suggest that Mtb72f may be less consistently protective than either Ag85B-ESAT-6 or Ag85B-TB10.4 in populations with a high TB burden, while Ag85B-TB10.4 may provide the most consistent protection. The findings of this study highlight the utility of bioinformatics as a tool for evaluating vaccine candidates before the costly stages of clinical trials and informing the development of new vaccines with the broadest possible population coverage.