Are antibodies important for protection against tuberculosis? The jury has been out for more than 100 years. B cell depletion in experimental Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection failed to identify a major role for these cells in immunity to tuberculosis. However, recent identification of naturally occurring antibodies in humans that are protective during M. tuberculosis infection has reignited the debate. Here, we discuss the evidence for a protective role for antibodies in tuberculosis and consider the feasibility of designing novel tuberculosis vaccines targeting humoral immunity.
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This work was in part funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation of China (81661128044) to B.J. B.J. is a Wellcome Trust Investigator.
Nature Reviews Immunology thanks S. Kaufmann and the other, anonymous reviewer(s) for their contribution to the peer review of this work.
The authors declare no competing interests.
Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
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Frontiers in Immunology (2019)
Frontiers in Medicine (2019)
Tropical Medicine & International Health (2019)