Since ID93/GLA-SE was developed as a targeted BCG-prime booster vaccine, in the present study, we evaluated the protective efficacy of ID93/GLA-SE as a boost to a BCG-prime against the hypervirulent Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) K challenge to provide further information on the development and application of this vaccine candidate. Boosting BCG with the ID93/GLA-SE vaccine significantly reduced bacterial burden at 16 weeks post-challenge while the BCG vaccine alone did not confer significant protection against Mtb K. The pathological analysis of the lung from the challenged mice also showed the remarkably protective boosting effect of ID93/GLA-SE on BCG-immunised animals. Moreover, qualitative and quantitative analysis of the immune responses following ID93/GLA-SE-immunisation demonstrated that ID93/GLA-SE was able to elicit robust and sustained Th1-biased antigen-specific multifunctional CD4+ T-cell responses up to 16 weeks post-challenge as well as a high magnitude of an antigen-specific IgG response. Our findings demonstrate that the ID93/GLA-SE vaccine candidate given as a BCG-prime boost regimen confers a high level of long-term protection against the hypervirulent Mtb Beijing infection. These findings will provide further and more feasible validation for the potential utility of this vaccine candidate particularly in East-Asian countries, with the predominance of the Beijing genotype, after BCG vaccination.
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