This project proposes a collaborative partnership to address the problem of control of filarial diseases with the use of modern biotechnology The aim is to studythe immunobiology of Onchocerca volvulus infection and to develop specific serodiagnostic and candidate vaccine antigens. This approach will also contribute to the understanding of the complex immunopathogenesis of the disease.
A large panel of approxomately 30 recombinant antigens have been isolated from CDNA libraries in the laboratories of Drs Bradley and Lucius. These will be used as probes to: 1) Study their immunodiagnostic potential by assessing their sensitivity and specificity in ELISA; 2) To study factors relating to immunopathology by assessing the variation of antifilarial immune response using sera and cells from clinically characterised individuals. Responses to individual recombinant antigens will be correlated with factors such as worm burdon, clinical symptoms, difference in infecting parasite strain, and HLA; 3) To evaluate thier potential as vaccines or capacity to induce pathology in a rodent filarial system ( infection of Jirds with Acanthocheilonema Viteae).
Groups of onchocerciasis patients from a rain forest area of Cameroon will be clinically characterised by the group of Dr Titanji. Recombinant antigens already produced in the European laboratories will be used to study the antibody and cellular responses of these individuals in the superbly equipped laboratories of the biotechnology centre in N' Kobisson (near Yaounde) in close collaboration with the European groups. Since genetic restriction in the response to recombinant antigens is likely to be a limiting factor in the application of immunodia-nostic and prophylactic antigens and also in the development of pathology an emphasis will be placed on the determination of the HLA type of the individuals being studied. The European groups will in addition to assessing these recombinant antigens in a rodent model system continue to produce, characterise and overexpress recombinant antigens for further phases of testing.Collaboration will be stimulated by exchange visits of trainees and researchers to both Cameroon and Europe.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts