Part I. Basic Principles.
TB vaccines cannot prevent establishment of the infection. They can only prevent an early pulmonary tubercle from developing into clinical disease. A more effective new vaccine should optimize both cell-mediated immunity (CMI) and delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH) better than any existing vaccine. The rabbit is the only laboratory animal in which all aspects of the human disease can be reproduced: namely, the prevention of most primary tubercles, the arrestment of most primary tubercles, the formation of the tubercle’s solid caseous center, the liquefaction of this center, the formation of cavities and the bronchial spread of the disease. In liquefied caseum, virulent tubercle bacilli can multiply extracellularly, especially in the liquefied caseum next to the inner wall of a cavity where oxygen is plentiful. The bacilli in liquefied caseum cannot
be reached by the increased number of activated macrophages produced by TB vaccines. Therefore, new TB vaccines will have little or no effect on the extracellular bacillary growth within liquefied caseum. TB vaccines can only increase the host’s ability to stop the development of new TB lesions that arise from the bronchial spread of tubercle bacilli from the cavity to other parts of the lung. Therefore, effective TB vaccines do not prevent the reactivation of latent TB. Such vaccines only control (or reduce) the number of metastatic lesions that result after
the primary TB lesion was reactivated by the liquefaction process. (Note: the large number of tubercle bacilli growing extracellularly in liquefied caseum gives rise to mutations that enable antimicrobial resistance—which is a major reason why TB still exists today). Part II. Preclinical Testing.
The counting of grossly visible tubercles in the lungs of rabbits
after the inhalation of virulent human-type tubercle bacilli is the most pertinent preclinical method to assess the efficacy of new TB vaccines (because an effective vaccine will stop the growth of developing tubercles before while they are still microscopic in size). Unfortunately, rabbits are rarely used in preclinical vaccine trials, despite their relative ease of handling and human-like response to this infection. Mice do not generate an effective DTH response, and guinea pigs do not generate an effective CMI response. Only the rabbits and most humans can establish the proper amount of DTH and CMI that is necessary to contain this infection. Therefore, rabbits should be included in all pre-clinical testing of new TB vaccines. New drugs (and/or immunological procedures) to reduce liquefaction and cavity formation are urgently needed. A simple intradermal way to select such drugs or procedures is described herein. Part III. Clinical Testing.
Vaccine trials would be much more precise if the variations in human populations (listed herein) were taken into consideration. BCG and successful new TB vaccines should always
increase host resistance to TB in naive subjects. This is a basic immunological principle. The efficacies of new and old TB vaccines are often not recognized, because these variations were not identified in the populations evaluated.