Integrating fish models in tuberculosis vaccine development

Anni K. Saralahti, Meri I.E. Uusi-Mäkelä, Mirja T. Niskanen, Mika Rämet

Research output: Contribution to journalReview Articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
2 Downloads (Pure)


Tuberculosis is a chronic infection by Mycobacterium tuberculosis that results in over 1.5 million deaths worldwide each year. Currently, there is only one vaccine against tuberculosis, the Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine. Despite widespread vaccination programmes, over 10 million new M. tuberculosis infections are diagnosed yearly, with almost half a million cases caused by antibiotic-resistant strains. Novel vaccination strategies concentrate mainly on replacing BCG or boosting its efficacy and depend on animal models that accurately recapitulate the human disease. However, efforts to produce new vaccines against an M. tuberculosis infection have encountered several challenges, including the complexity of M. tuberculosis pathogenesis and limited knowledge of the protective immune responses. The preclinical evaluation of novel tuberculosis vaccine candidates is also hampered by the lack of an appropriate animal model that could accurately predict the protective effect of vaccines in humans. Here, we review the role of zebrafish (Danio rerio) and other fish models in the development of novel vaccines against tuberculosis and discuss how these models complement the more traditional mammalian models of tuberculosis.

Original languageEnglish
Article number045716
Number of pages17
JournalDisease Models and Mechanisms
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020
Publication typeA2 Review article in a scientific journal


  • Animal models
  • Mycobacteria
  • Tuberculosis vaccine
  • Zebrafish

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Immunology and Microbiology (miscellaneous)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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