East Coast fever caused by the protozoan parasite Theileria parva ranks first in tick-borne disease constraints of cattle in sub-Saharan Africa and kills one animal every 30 seconds. It has a devastating impact on pastoralists and smallholder farmers because it can kill within 3-4 weeks of infection. East Coast fever is present in 11 countries where roughly 28 million cattle are at risk, but has the potential to spread with the uncontrolled movement of infected cattle as the distribution of the tick vector and suitable tick habitats is wider than that of the parasite. Over one million cattle die of East Coast fever each year resulting in annual losses exceeding $300 million. The project goal is to design subunit vaccines for the control of East Coast fever. In phase 1, the project will undertake a range of key strategic activities in the research to product development continuum to:
- Improve aspects of the current sub-optimal live (infection and treatment method - ITM) East Coast fever vaccine.
- Fill knowledge gaps regarding the qualitative and quantitative aspects of acquired immune responses that mediate immunity to East Coast fever.
- Test the vaccine potential of candidate vaccine antigens and develop a more detailed antigen map.