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Several studies have documented that helminth infections can interfere with the development of the immune response of vaccines against different diseases, although some results have been contradictory. The mechanisms involved in the inhibition of the immune response to vaccination by helminth are still unclear, and murine models of helminth-malaria coinfections have proven helpful in investigating some aspects of the interactions involved. The study evaluated here focuses on the effect of helminth infection in mice on the immunogenicity and protective efficacy of two distinct malaria vaccine candidates, a transmission-blocking DNA vaccine based on Pfs25 antigen and a pre-erythrocytic vaccine based on irradiated sporozoites. Interestingly, the authors found that helminth infection dramatically reduced DNA</a> vaccine immunogenicity, while immunization with irradiated sporozoites was able to induce a high level of antibodies and protection, independently of helminth infection. Immune suppression by helminth infection affected all IgG isotypes, suggesting no particular polarization of the immune response, but the generation of memory B cells was not affected. It will be of key interest to understand the mechanisms underlying the efficacy of the sporozoite vaccine, and its ability to overcome helminth immunosuppression, as this may help in the design of more effective vaccines.


Julio Vladimir Cruz-Chan, Miguel Rosado-Vallado, Eric Dumonteil. Malaria vaccine efficacy: overcoming the helminth hurdle. Expert review of vaccines. 2010 Jul;9(7):707-11

PMID: 20624043

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