Leishmania antigen discovery raises vaccine hopes

Vaccination with an antigen from the Leishmania parasite, which is spread by sandflies, produced a robust immune response in mice and humans.

Researchers have identified a cross-species Leishmania antigen called PEPCK that  could result in a cross-species vaccine against Leishmaniasis. In the image, a sandfly, which is responsible for carrying the Leishmania parasite

Leishmaniasis is an infectious disease that affects more than 12 million people and is spread in the bites of sandflies carrying Leishmania parasites. Infected people often recover and are subsequently resistant to reinfection, suggesting vaccination is feasible, but efforts have so far failed to yield a vaccine that gives long-term immunity. 

A team of international researchers report that they have identified a cross-species Leishmania antigen called PEPCK that induces a robust immune response in both mice and humans. In mice, vaccination with PEPCK led to long-lasting protection against two different Leishmania

Writing in Science Translational Medicine (online, 21 October 2015)[1]
, the researchers say the finding raises the “real possibility” of developing a cross-species vaccine against the disease.


[1] Mou Z, Li J, Boussoffara T et al. Identification of broadly conserved cross-species protective Leishmania antigen and its responding CD4+ T cells. Science Translational Medicine 2015;7(310):310ra167. doi:10.1126/scitranslmed.aac5477

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, October 2015;Online:DOI:10.1211/PJ.2015.20069613