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Parasitology. 2006;133 Suppl:S81-6.

Vaccines for amoebiasis: barriers and opportunities.

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Department of Medicine, Washington University School of Medicine, 660 S. Euclid Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63110, USA.


Amoebiasis, infection by the protozoan parasite Entamoeba histolytica, remains a global health problem, despite the availability of effective treatment. While improved sanitation could lead to the eradication of this disease, it is unlikely that this will occur worldwide in the foreseeable future; thus alternative measures must be pursued. One approach is to develop a vaccine to prevent this deadly disease. Clinical studies indicate that mucosal immunity may provide some protection against recurrent intestinal infection with E. histolytica, but there is no clear evidence that protective immunity develops after amoebic liver abscess. Over the past decade, progress in vaccine development has been facilitated by new animal models that allow better testing of potential vaccine candidates and the application of recombinant technology to vaccine design. Oral vaccines and DNA-based vaccines have been successfully tested in animals models for immunogenicity and efficacy. There has been significant progress on a number of fronts, but there are unanswered questions regarding the effectiveness of immune responses in preventing disease in man and, as yet, no testing of any of these vaccines in humans has been performed. In addition, there are strong economic barriers to developing an amoebiasis vaccine and questions about how and where an effective vaccine would be utilized.

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