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All mycobacteria are inventive, but some are more Daedalean than others.

Since the end of 2019, when the world was struck by the COVID‐19 pandemic,1, 2 discussions regarding immunology seem not to be restricted to lecture halls and laboratories anymore, but have moved beyond the scientific community into public society. Popular talk shows and social media platforms nowadays not sporadically contain (non‐scientific) conversations about herd immunity, neutralizing antibodies, the R‐number, T cell cross‐reactivity, rapid tests, host‐directed therapy (chloroquine), and, of course, vaccines. With respect to the latter, the post‐COVID‐19 laymen attention focuses, besides on availability, on vaccine composition, regimen, trials, boosters, and efficacy, topics that, not too long ago, were considered far from appealing topics of conversation by non‐scientist. To pull us out of the economically and socially devastating restrictions imposed on society by this global pandemic, the hope of the public is now directed on the new anti‐COVID‐19 vaccines that are currently being rolled out in many countries across the world.

Taken this present‐day extent of public attention for immunology into consideration, it should have become common knowledge by now that long‐term investments in research of immunology (inseparably linked with vaccinology) of infectious diseases, including those caused by pathogenic mycobacteria, have provided vital contributions to the current capability to develop and produce COVID‐19 vaccines in <1 year.

Still, development of better diagnostics and improved vaccines has been relatively slow despite their protracted impact on the health of humans and animals as well as global economies. This controversy is reflecting the unpropitious funding situation of this research domain, which is quite disproportional with the number of casualties particularly in the case of tuberculosis (TB), a respiratory disease that, before 2020, has been more lethal than any other disease from a single infectious agent.3 However, in contrast to COVID‐19, which has severely hit Europe and the USA as well, mycobacterial diseases mostly affect individuals in low‐ and middle‐income countries (LMICs).

This volume of Immunological Reviews comprises papers that encompass (recent) findings on the immunology of mycobacterial diseases caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb), M leprae, M ulcerans, M avium, M absessus, M bovis, and M avium subspecies paratuberculosis, as well as immunity induced by the vaccine strain M bovis Bacillus Calmette‐Guérin (BCG), thereby illustrating the progress made in basic research on Immunity to Mycobacteria.

This includes the role that classical and more recently discovered (T) cells play in these intriguing host‐pathogen interactions as well as potential application thereof within vaccination strategies and as correlates of protection and disease in diagnostics. To unravel mechanisms of disease various “omics” technologies have contributed, leading to new insights regarding (prospective) diagnostics for4-8 as well as immune mechanisms of mycobacterial diseases.9, 10

In addition, it addresses the plethora of sophisticated survival strategies including manipulation of phagosome maturation, autophagy, mitochondrial activity, antigen presentation, and metabolic pathways that these mycobacteria can employ to evade the hosts’ immune systems.

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Geluk A