BCG Then and Now

On 18 July 1921, at the Hôpital de la Charité in Paris, a newborn infant received a dose of an experimental vaccine called Bacille Calmette-Guérin. This young child would be the first human to receive the BCG vaccine, which, over the coming 100 years, would save millions of lives that would have been lost to one of history’s greatest killers- tuberculosis. In 2021, VALIDATE is celebrating the 100th anniversary of BCG in our BCG100 Programme.


In BCG Then and Now, Prof Paul Fine & Prof Helen McShane take us on a journey from the initial development of the vaccine to the modern-day challenges in the fight against TB and the future challenges researchers face in replacing the enduring BCG vaccine.

This online talk took place on World TB Day, 24 March 2021 and was the first event in our BCG100 Programme marking 100 years of the first use of BCG for humans.

The Speakers:

Prof Helen McShane is the VALIDATE Network Director; Director of the Oxford NIHR Biomedical Research Centre; Professor of Vaccinology at Oxford University; Deputy Head (Translation and Personnel), Medical Sciences Division; and an Honorary Consultant Physician in infectious diseases. Since 2001, Helen has led a TB vaccine research group at the University of Oxford's Jenner Institute. She collaborates with several research groups across Africa in TB vaccine clinical trials. 

Prof Paul Fine is Professor of Communicable Disease Epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Paul  trained originally in zoology, veterinary medicine, parasitology and epidemiology, and joined the staff of LSHTM in 1976. Since 1997 he has worked on a wide variety of vaccine issues, including the evaluation of non-specific effects of vaccines, methods for field evaluation of veterinary vaccines, the implications of the transmissibility of oral polio vaccine viruses for the polio eradication initiative, and methods for optimising vaccination schedules.