Indexed on: 30 Apr '09Published on: 30 Apr '09Published in: APMIS
Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the causative agent of tuberculosis (TB), remains a major worldwide health problem that causes more than 2 million deaths annually. In addition, an estimated 2 billion people are latently infected with M. tuberculosis. The bacterium is one of the oldest human pathogens and has evolved complex strategies for survival. Therefore, to be successful in the high endemic regions, any future TB vaccine strategy will have to be tailored in accordance with the resulting complexity of the TB infection and anti-mycobacterial immune response. In this review, we will discuss what is presently known about the interaction of M. tuberculosis with the immune system, and how this knowledge is used in new and more advanced vaccine strategies.