Epitope focused immunogens and recombinant antibody therapeutics for the control of tropical diseases

Tropical diseases in humans and livestock can cause death and remain a huge economic and social burden in developing countries. Currently, 3.6 billion people are at risk of dengue infection. Endemic in 100 countries, with an estimated 390 million annual infections and approximately 500,000 hospitalizations yearly, dengue fever is a worldwide challenge for public health officials and policymakers. East Coast fever is a tick-borne disease affecting cattle, caused by the protozoan parasite Theileria parva. With a 3–4 week incubation period and 100% mortality rate in exotic cattle, it has a devastating economic impact on pastoralists and smallholder farmers in Africa.

Combining cutting-edge immunology and protein engineering methods, this collaborative research project aims to develop affordable antibody-based therapies for dengue patients and improved vaccines for the control of dengue fever and East Coast fever in both humans and animals. The core technologies that will be employed reduce the use of animals in research and are easy and affordable to implement, which make these approaches particularly appealing to research groups based in low- and middle-income countries.

In Canada, the project is led by the University of Toronto, in collaboration with Tel Aviv University (Israel), the International Livestock Research Institute (Kenya), the SciGenom Labs (India), and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine (USA). It was selected and approved for funding through the second research competition of the Joint Canada-Israel Health Research Program, a partnership between IDRC, the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, the Israel Science Foundation, and the Azrieli Foundation. This seven-year, CA$35M Canadian-Israeli effort draws on the unique scientific strengths of both countries and facilitates networking opportunities with peers from Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Projects include a plan for integrating researchers from low- and middle-income countries to establish long-term scientific relationships.

Project ID

108404

Project status

Completed

End Date

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Duration

36 months

IDRC Officer

Fabiano Santos

Total funding

CA$ 651,218

Program

Canada-Israel Health Research Program

Project Leader

Sachdev Sidhu

Institution

The Governing Council of the University of Toronto

Institution Country

Canada

Institution Website

http://www.utoronto.ca