Evolution and Strain Variation in BCG

Abdallah Abdallah, Marcel A. Behr

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

    36 Scopus citations


    BCG vaccines were derived by in vitro passage, during the years 1908–1921, at the Pasteur Institute of Lille. Following the distribution of stocks of BCG to vaccine production laboratories around the world, it was only a few decades before different BCG producers recognized that there were variants of BCG, likely due to different passaging conditions in the different laboratories. This ultimately led to the lyophilization of stable BCG products in the 1950s and 1960s, but not before considerable evolution of the different BCG strains had taken place. The application of contemporary research methodologies has now revealed genomic, transcriptomic and proteomic differences between BCG strains. These molecular differences in part account for phenotypic differences in vitro between BCG strains, such as their variable secretion of antigenic proteins. Yet, the relevance of BCG variability for immunization policy remains elusive. In this chapter we present an overview of what is known about BCG evolution and its resulting strain variability, and provide some speculation as to the potential relevance for a vaccine given to over 100 million newborns each year.
    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Title of host publicationStrain Variation in the Mycobacterium tuberculosis Complex: Its Role in Biology, Epidemiology and Control
    PublisherSpringer Nature
    Number of pages15
    ISBN (Print)9783319643694
    StatePublished - Nov 8 2017

    Bibliographical note

    KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01


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