There is a great deal of similarity in the immunopathology, genomics and biology of T. parva and T. annulata. Similar protective immune responses are directed against the sporozoite and schizont stages of the parasites, and it is remarkable that many candidate sporozoite and schizont antigens are also so similar to each other. Hence, advances in development of subunit vaccines against one parasite species are likely to be readily applicable to the other.
The ECF consortium is aiming at producing a vaccine that would trigger both an antibody response and a T cell dependent response. Thanks to the whole genome sequence of Theileria parva and its annotation, we have short listed hundreds of antigen candidates, but the number of antigen candidate that can be tested in cattle is limited. How do we narrow down the list of candidates to a handful that can be studied rigorously in live experiments?
The recent meeting of the East Coast fever consortium, which brings together experts in immunology, parasitology and genomics from three continents (ILRI, Edinburgh, Antwerp, IGS, as well as the organization that produces the infection and treatment method (ITM) vaccine, provided a venue to discuss a way forward.
As part of a BMGF-funded consortium a novel Next-generation-sequencing (NGS) approach to high-throughput MHC typing of cattle has been developed that allows rapid, cheap and high resolution characterisation of bovine MHC genotypes
A recent review, as well as current studies in the primary literature, present examples of how cancer research can be used in the study of Theileria biology, suggesting that this might be a turning point that could revolutionize how T. parva infection is studied.
We are here aiming to directly identify the parts or ‘antigens’ of the Theileria parva parasite that are visible to the cellular immune system during infection using a state-of-the-art mass spectrometry approach in order to inform the development of targeted vaccines against Theileriosis.
The partial success of subunit vaccine candidates based on sporozoite proteins give rise to the belief that sporozoite surface antigens might constitute neutralizing vaccine candidates. This milestone together with the protective immunity of whole sporozoite infection and treatment vaccination can be further built upon in order to ultimately achieve protection against ECF infection with a multivalent subunit vaccine.