The progression of the disease that follows infection of guinea pigs with Mycobacterium tuberculosis displays many features of human tuberculosis (TB), and the guinea pig model of TB has been used for more than 100 years as a research tool to understand and describe disease mechanisms. Changes in the bacterial burden and pathology following infection can be readily monitored and used to evaluate the impact of TB interventions. Demonstration of the protective efficacy of vaccines in the low-dose aerosol guinea pig model is an important component of the preclinical data package for novel vaccines in development, and there is a continual need to improve the model to facilitate progression of vaccines to the clinic. Development of better tools with which to dissect the immune responses of guinea pigs is a focus of current research.
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