The Development of the Tuberculosis Vaccine

Mycobacterium tuberculosis is one of the leading causes of mortality in all over the world. The infection caused by M. tuberculosis is commonly known as tuberculosis or TB. According to a CDC report, in 2012, approximately nine million patients were infected globally with TB and the fatality was around 1.3 million1. It is estimated that nearly one third of the global population is infected with TB.
M. tuberculosis was first described by Robert Koch in the year 1882 as the “tubercle bacillus”. The bacterium belongs to a special group of microorganisms that contain a thick, waxy, lipid rich layer of mycolic acid on their cell surface. The mycolic acid makes this bacterium tolerant to a number of antimicrobials and is one of its major virulence factors. Due to the presence of the mycolic acid layer, it is very difficult to stain Mycobacterium with conventional Gram staining. Thus, a special staining technique called acid-fast staining or Ziehl-Neelsen staining is used to stain the TB pathogen. Although, M. tuberculosis do not stain well during Gram staining, they are often described as acid-fast Gram positive bacilli. They are called Gram positive as they do not have an outer cell membrane like Gram negative bacteria. M. tuberculosis are aerobic, non-motile, intracellular pathogens that most commonly infect the mammalian pulmonary system. It has a very slow generation time as it undergoes one division every 15 to 20 hours.
As M. tuberculosis is predominantly a pulmonary pathogen it is transmitted via droplet nuclei from an infected individual. Usual process of transmission involves generation of tiny infectious respiratory fluid droplets when a TB patient sneezes or talks or shouts. These droplets can remain suspended...

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