Understanding the Mechanisms of Intravenous BCG-Induced Protection Against TB in NHP (TB Vaccine)

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), tuberculosis (TB) is the ninth leading cause of death worldwide and the primary cause from a single infectious agent, ranking above HIV/AIDS. Approximately 10.4 million people fell ill with TB in 2016, with an increase in new cases compared to the previous year. The need for an effective TB vaccine is urgently needed.  

The Bacille Calmette Guerin (BCG), is the vaccine currently approved to be delivered to infants to prevent TB. However, when delivered intradermally (ID) (injected into the skin) it has variable results. Researchers are looking at alternative, more effective methods to deliver the vaccine to patients through a new project called “Understanding the mechanisms of intravenous BCG-induced protection against TB in NHP” (TB Vaccine). Funded through a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to the FNIH, the research will be conducted by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and the University of Pittsburgh.

Researchers will study the effects of using a new intravenous (IV) method of delivering the BCG vaccine to treat TB. This method may better activate the T-cells (white blood cells) that help trigger an important, long-term immune response in the lunges to prevent TB. The researches will test this method of delivery in macaques over nine months. They will analyze the results through blood tests, image scans and autopsies, with results anticipated in two years.  


  • Define an immune correlate and threshold of protection
  • Identify immune mechanisms of protectcion
  • Determine the role of humoral immunity in mediating protection

Results & Accomplishments


FNIH Announcement (March 19, 2019): FNIH Launches New Project to Improve Vaccination Against Tuberculosis


Public-Sector Partners:
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)

Private-Sector Partners:
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation*

Academic Partners:
University of Pittsburgh

*Provided financial or in-kind support for this program.

FNIH Contacts

Tiffany Francis, C.P., Project Manager, Predict TB; tfrancis@fnih.org

Karen H. Tountas, Ph.D., Scientific Program Manager; ktountas@fnih.org