St. Louis Post-Dispatch (12.20.12)
Dr. Daniel Hoft, director of the Division of Infectious Diseases, Allergy and Immunology at St. Louis University, and a team of researchers are doing a pilot study to develop tests that other scientists can use to decide which potential vaccines are worth further studies. The study will determine what testing protocols provide the most information about whether a vaccine is triggering a strong immune response. Also, the protocol must be able to be reproduced to see how different vaccines work on different groups of volunteers.
The team will infect the Bacillus Calmette-Guérin vaccine in volunteers. They will then use tests to monitor the amount of shedding in real time to see which tests work best to measure the body’s response to infection and identify when the response is most robust. They will compare blood tests to measure the body’s inflammation response. The researchers will also conduct analysis to count the number of genomes of BCG to see how the expression of the BCG gene changes over time.
Hoft stated that they will see if there is a pattern to shedding, which could help pinpoint the time that is best to look for a strong immune response. He explains that the point of the research is to develop the optimal protocol to detect immunity in people based on detecting a protective immune response that prevents BCG shedding after the challenge.