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Current scenario of vaccine development against a neglected disease: visceral leishmaniasis

Author: 
Dr. Sabiha Imran
Subject Area: 
Life Sciences
Abstract: 

Visceral leishmaniasis (VL) or kala-azar, a vector-borne protozoan disease, shows endemicity in larger areas of the Asia, Africa, South America, and the Mediterranean basin. WHO report suggested that an annual incidence of VL is nearly 200,000 to 400,000 cases, resulting in 20,000 to 30,000 deaths per year. Treatment with available anti-leishmanial drugs are not cost effective, with varied efficacies and higher relapse rate, which poses a major challenge to current kala-azar control program in Indian subcontinent. Therefore, a vaccine against VL is imperative and knowing the fact that recovered individuals developed lifelong immunity against re-infection, it is feasible. Vaccine development program, though time taking, has recently gained momentum with the emergence of omic era, i.e., from genomics to immunomics. Classical as well as molecular methodologies have been overtaken with alternative strategies wherein proteomics based knowledge combined with computational techniques (immunoinformatics) speed up the identification and detailed characterization of new antigens for potential vaccine candidates. This may eventually help in the designing of polyvalent synthetic and recombinant chimeric vaccines as an effective intervention measures to control the disease in endemic areas. This review focuses on such newer approaches being utilized for vaccine development against VL.

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