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Vet Parasitol. 2001 Nov 22;101(3-4):291-310.

Advances and prospects for subunit vaccines against protozoa of veterinary importance.

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Immunology and Disease Resistance Laboratory, Agricultural Research Service, US Department of Agriculture (USDA), Beltsville, MA 20705, USA.


Protozoa are responsible for considerable morbidity and mortality in domestic and companion animals. Preventing infection may involve deliberate exposure to virulent or attenuated parasites so that immunity to natural infection is established early in life. This is the basis for vaccines against theilerosis and avian coccidiosis. Vaccination may not be effective or practical with diseases, such as cryptosporidiosis, that primarily afflict the immune-compromised or individuals with an incompletely developed immune system. Strategies for combating these diseases often rely on passive immunotherapy using serum or colostrums containing antibodies to parasite surface proteins. Subunit vaccines offer an attractive alternative to virulent or attenuated parasites for several reasons. These include the use of bacteria or lower eukaryotes to produce recombinant proteins in batch culture, the relative stability of recombinant proteins compared to live parasites, and the flexibility to incorporate only those antigens that elicit "protective" immune responses. Although subunit vaccines offer many theoretical advantages, our lack of understanding of immune mechanisms to primary and secondary infection and the capacity of many protozoa to evade host immunity remain obstacles to developing effective vaccines. This review examines the progress made on developing recombinant proteins of Eimeria, Giardia, Cryptosporidium, Toxoplasma, Neospora, Trypanosoma, Babesia, and Theileria and attempts to use these antigens for vaccinating animals against the associated diseases.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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