About this Research Topic
Hematophagous arthropods serve as vectors of pathogens that cause disease in humans and livestock. Vector-borne disease epidemics like plague, malaria, and typhus have marked human history for centuries. Leaps in scientific advancements over the last two decades have unraveled the genomes of countless arthropod vectors and that of the pathogens they transmit. Nevertheless, the race against these disease-transmitting arthropods remains to be fully won. Non-profit funding organizations world-wide have funneled diverse resources with the goal of eradicating major vector-borne diseases and achieved glimmers of success in some fronts. Global warming and globalization have served as drivers of emergence and resurgence of many diseases such as Zika and Chikungunya and uptick in diseases such as Lyme disease. There is an urgent need to develop bold and new paradigms that will harness tools, technologies, and insights from different areas of science to effectively thwart vectors of pathogens.
Technologies such as CRISPR in conjunction with gene drive no longer seem just futuristic fiddle-faddle. But, without a fundamental understanding of the functional biology of the arthropod and the pathogens it vectors, technology is just a bauble and cannot be translated to strategies. A comprehensive understanding of the functional genome of the arthropod vector will nurture the adaptation of the most suitable gene manipulation tools for novel approaches to control the arthropod vectors and the pathogens they transmit. Sophisticated protein and RNA sequencing tools now offer speed and sensitivity and circumvent limitations that hampered research into vector-pathogen-host interactions a decade ago. We have also begun to recognize the influence of microbiomes of the vector and the host on pathogen transmission and this understanding has spawned new paradigms to control several mosquito-transmitted diseases. Advances in computational and synthetic chemistry is accelerating the discovery of novel chemicals to control vectors. Keeping pace with the strides in various omics technologies is also the science of vaccine formulation replete with novel adjuvants, delivery methods, and RNA and DNA vaccine platforms. We are at an exciting juncture in this research wherein lofty ideas can be pursued and perhaps, even be realized.
This Research Topic hopes to excite researchers in the field to articulate novel scientific visions that will tap into their past wisdom and enthuse rich ideas that will seed conceptual advancements critical to understand, control or eradicate vector-borne diseases in the near future. Towards this goal, we seek the opinions of scientists collected in Opinion articles on research areas that may include (but not limited to):
- critical gaps in our knowledge that need to be bridged to generate new paradigms to control vector borne diseases.
-concepts that challenge or shift dogmas, to spearhead innovations and dictate public health policies conducive to prevent vector-borne diseases.
Keywords: Vector-borne diseases, Hematophagous arthropods
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