Leishmaniasis vaccines can be tested using a controlled human infection model as per The University of York-led study. The team has revealed a new strain of Leishmania parasite that can be characterized to form the basis of a new controlled human infection model for the disease.
Leishmaniasis is transmitted by the bite of sand flies. It is characterized by slow-to-heal skin ulcers that may spread to other areas of the body or mucosal surfaces causing lifelong stigma, or to the internal organs resulting in the potentially fatal visceral leishmaniasis.
Almost one billion people are being at risk of getting infected with leishmaniasis globally, in more than 98 countries with no adequate drug / vaccine treatments till date. 1,500,000 new cases and 20,000-30,000 deaths are reported annually.
"This is an important milestone for leishmaniasis vaccine development, bringing us a step closer to having the tools needed to evaluate potentially life-saving or life-changing vaccines in a timely and cost-effective manner", says Professor Paul Kaye from the Hull York Medical School who led the study.
The study is set to explore the efficacy of vaccine in clinical trials involving healthy volunteers and observe how the body responds to the parasite and to determine how many participants are needed in future vaccine trials to determine vaccine efficacy.
Facts on Leishmaniasis
- Leishmaniasis is caused by a protozoa parasite from over 20 Leishmania species
- Over 90 sandfly species are known to transmit Leishmania parasites
- There are 3 main forms of leishmaniases - visceral (also known as kala-azar, which is and the most serious form of the disease), cutaneous (the most common), and mucocutaneous
- 1,500,000 new cases and 20,000-30,000 deaths are reported annually