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Tackling human and animal health threats through innovative vaccinology in Africa

Africa bears the brunt of many of the world’s most devastating human and animal infectious diseases, a good number of which have no licensed or effective vaccines available. The continent’s potential to generate novel interventions against these global health threats is however largely untapped. Strengthening Africa’s vaccine research and development (R&D) sector could accelerate discovery, development and deployment of effective countermeasures against locally prevalent infectious diseases, many of which are neglected and have the capacity to spread to new geographical settings.

Sustainable vaccine development: a vaccine manufacturer's perspective

Vaccination remains the most cost-effective public health intervention after clean water, and the benefits impressively outweigh the costs. The efforts needed to fulfill the steadily growing demands for next-generation and novel vaccines designed for emerging pathogens and new indications are only realizable in a sustainable business model. Vaccine development can be fast-tracked through strengthening international collaborations, and the continuous innovation of technologies to accelerate their design, development, and manufacturing.

Serological responses of cattle inoculated with inactivated trivalent foot-and-mouth disease vaccine at the wildlife-livestock interface of the Kruger National Park, South Africa

Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) virus is economically one of the world’s most important animal pathogens, which can be responsible for losses in livestock trade, as well as frequent and highly disruptive large-scale epidemics. The control of FMD in southern Africa typically includes vaccination of cattle with a trivalent or bivalent vaccine preparation. The objective of this study was to determine the level and duration of the antibody responses conferred by the current FMD vaccination programme in cattle at the western boundary of the Kruger National Park (KNP) in South Africa.

Targeting a global health problem: Vaccine design and challenges for the control of tick-borne diseases

It has been over twenty years since the first vaccines for the control of tick infestations became commercially available. These vaccines proved their efficacy and the potential of this approach for the control of tick-borne diseases (TBDs), which represent a growing burden for human and animal health worldwide. In all these years, research in this area has produced new tick-derived and pathogen-derived candidate protective antigens.

A thermostable presentation of the live, attenuated peste des petits ruminants vaccine in use in Africa and Asia

The research objective was to develop a thermostable vaccine against peste des petits ruminants (PPR), a morbilliviral disease of small ruminants targeted for eradication that is a major constraint on the livelihoods of the rural poor throughout much of Africa and Asia. Although existing PPR vaccines provide life-long immunity, they require continuous refrigeration. This limits their utility in developing countries.

Approaches to vaccination against Theileria parva and Theileria annulata

Despite having different cell tropism, the pathogenesis and immunobiology of the diseases caused by Theileria parva and Theileria annulata are remarkably similar. Live vaccines have been available for both parasites for over 40 years, but although they provide strong protection, practical disadvantages have limited their widespread application. Efforts to develop alternative vaccines using defined parasite antigens have focused on the sporozoite and intracellular schizont stages of the parasites.

Prospects for vaccination against pathogenic African trypanosomes

African trypanosomes cause human and animal African trypanosomiases, which are chronic, debilitating and often fatal diseases of people and livestock in sub-Saharan Africa. The extracellular protozoan parasites are exemplars of antigenic variation. They direct host-protective B-cell and T-cell immune responses towards hypervariable components of their variable surface glycoprotein coat and evade immune elimination by generating new surface coat antigenic variants at a rate that supersedes immune destruction.

Progress in the development of subunit vaccines for gastrointestinal nematodes of ruminants

The global increase in anthelmintic resistant nematodes of ruminants, together with consumer concerns about chemicals in food, necessitates the development of alternative methods of control for these pathogens. Subunit recombinant vaccines are ideally placed to fill this gap. Indeed, they are probably the only valid option for the long-term control of ruminant parasitic nematodes given the increasing ubiquity of multidrug resistance in a range of worm species across the world.

Strategies for new and improved vaccines against ticks and tick-borne diseases

Ticks infest a variety of animal species and transmit pathogens causing disease in both humans and animals worldwide. Tick–host–pathogen interactions have evolved through dynamic processes that accommodated the genetic traits of the hosts, pathogens transmitted and the vector tick species that mediate their development and survival. New approaches for tick control are dependent on defining molecular interactions between hosts, ticks and pathogens to allow for discovery of key molecules that could be tested in vaccines or new generation therapeutics for intervention of tick–pathogen cycles.

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