Thirty years of recombinant BCG: new trends for a centenary vaccine

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Introduction: Global perception of the potential for Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG), and consequently recombinant BCG (rBCG), in a variety of prophylactic and therapeutic applications has been increasing. A century of information on BCG, and three decades of experience with rBCG, has generated solid knowledge in this field. Area covered: Here, we review the current state of knowledge of BCG and rBCG development. Molecular tools have facilitated the expression of a variety of molecules in BCG, with the aim of improving its efficacy as a tuberculosis vaccine, generating polyvalent vaccines against other pathogens, including viruses, bacteria, and parasites, and developing immunotherapy approaches against noninvasive bladder cancer. BCG’s recently appraised heterologous effects and prospects for expanding its application to other diseases are also addressed. Expert opinion: There are high expectations for new tuberculosis vaccines currently undergoing advanced clinical trials, which could change the prospects of the field. Systems biology could reveal effective biomarkers of protection, which would greatly support vaccine development. The development of appropriate large-scale production processes would further support implementation of new vaccines and rBCG products. The next few years should consolidate the broader applications of BCG and produce insights into improvements using the recombinant BCG technology.
Marques Neto LM, Piwowarska Z, Kanno AI, Moraes L, Trentini MM, Rodríguez D, et al. Thirty years of recombinant BCG: new trends for a centenary vaccine. Expert Rev. Vaccines. 2021 July;20(8):1001-1011. doi:10.1080/14760584.2021.1951243.
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