The case for vaccine development in the strategy to eradicate river blindness (onchocerciasis) from Africa

Benjamin L Makepeace, Simon A Babayan, Sara Lustigman, David W Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review

Abstract

Onchocerciasis or river blindness is a neglected parasitic disease causing severe dermatitis and visual impairment, predominantly in Africa. Historically, onchocerciasis control targeted vector breeding sites, but the current strategy relies on mass administration of a single drug, ivermectin. As programmatic goals shift from reducing public health impact to active elimination, sole reliance on ivermectin is threatened by contraindications in areas coendemic for loiasis, an inability to break transmission in some foci, and the emergence of drug resistance. Here, we argue that prophylactic and therapeutic vaccines would accelerate elimination efforts and safeguard the enormous strides made in onchocerciasis control. These vaccines could be based on one or more of three lead candidates identified by a newly formed transatlantic partnership, The Onchocerciasis Vaccine for Africa Initiative.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1163-5
Number of pages3
JournalExpert Review of Vaccines
Volume14
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jun 2015

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