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PROSPECT FOR SCHISTOSOME VACCINE

A NEW APPROACH TOWARD INFECTIOUS DISEASES

 

Parasitic infectious diseases are one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality especially in the tropics and subtropical regions. However, there are still no vaccines against any human parasites. The development of vaccines against parasites, viruses, and bacteria pose one of the most daunting challenges to vaccinologists. Scientists are more enthusiastic to find vaccines for diseases like schistosomiasis. Schistosomes are a category of multicellular helminthes, which are part of a vast array of pathogens affecting humans. In fact, schistosomiasis affects about 200 million people while putting about 800 million people at a serious risk (Capron). Most importantly, Schistosomiasis is the second major parasitic disease in the world after malaria, and continues to be a major public health problem despite tremendous progresses of medical research in the 21st century. Hence, vaccine strategies represent a step forward in controlling schistosomiasis.

However, it is important to realize that vaccinations against parasitic helminthes can be achieved when we take into account the immunology of the host-parasite relationship. Vaccination is the route of choice for schistosomiasis and other parasites. However, the search for an effective vaccine against schistosomiasis remains a desirable but a challenging goal (McManus). Current research is enlightening our understanding of how infection by schistosome leads to immune mediation. The main area of interest focuses on the life-cycle of the parasite, the ability of the parasite to evade the immune system, and the ability to identify and elicit the desired immune response. This website explores the new developments in vaccine research and present new areas of research like DNA vaccines. In addition, I will summarize the most recent findings on both the biology of schistosomiasis as well as the progress toward an effective vaccine.