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Abstract: Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, tuberculosis, and malaria are responsible for most human deaths produced by infectious diseases worldwide. Vaccination against HIV requires generation of memory T cells and neutralizing antibodies, mucosal immunity, and stimulation of an innate immune responses. In this context, the use of Mycobacterium bovis bacillus Calmette–Guérin (BCG) as a live vaccine vehicle is a promising approach for T-cell induction. We will provide expert commentary and 5-year view on how the development of potential recombinant BCG-based HIV vaccines involves careful selection of the HIV antigen, expression vectors, promoters, BCG strain, preclinical animal models, influence of preexisting immunity, and safety issues, for the rational design of recombinant BCG:HIV vaccines to prevent HIV transmission in the general population. The three critical issues to be considered when developing a rBCG:HIV vaccine are codon optimization, antigen localization, and plasmid stability in vivo. The use of integrative expression vectors are likely to improve the mycobacterial vaccine stability and immunogenicity to develop not only recombinant BCG-based vaccines expressing second generation of HIV-1 immunogens but also other major pediatric pathogens to prime protective responses shortly following birth.
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