Rhesus and sooty mangabey monkeys (RM and SMM) were vaccinated and boosted with BCG or BCG + low dose (LD) or high dose (HD) heat-killed Mycobacterium leprae (HKML). One group was not vaccinated. Except for a group of controls, all monkeys were challenged with live M. leprae. All animals were studied longitudinally to determine antileprosy protective efficacy. BCG reduced the numbers of RM with histopathologically-diagnosed leprosy by 70% and slowed and ameliorated the appearance of symptoms. BCG + LDHKML reduced the number of RM with leprosy by 89% and BCG + HDHKML by 78%. BCG did not protect SMM from developing leprosy, but disease progress was slowed; disease in SMM was exacerbated by the addition of HKML to the vaccine. RM, as a species, are prone to paucibacillary (PB) forms of leprosy, whereas SMM are prone to multibacillary (MB) forms. Thus, BCG vaccination offers significant protection from clinical disease and slows/ameliorates the rate of progression/degree of disease at the PB end and appears to at least ameliorate symptoms at the MB end of the leprosy spectrum. BCG + HKML protects at the PB end and exacerbates disease progress at the MB end of the leprosy spectrum.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Infectious Diseases