About this Research Topic
Infectious diseases are the major cause of mortality and morbidity in most developing countries. Among these, diseases caused by parasites are among the most important because they are often difficult to treat and re-infection is common. Drug resistance is a constant threat and few new drugs are under development, partly because the returns for pharmaceutical companies are projected to be low in resource-poor countries. This is compounded by the fact that most African governments lack the resources and infrastructure to effectively control parasitic diseases.
Parasitic diseases and their associated socio-economic consequences are arguably highest in sub-Saharan African countries due to the continent’s diverse geographical, social, cultural and economic conditions. In many of these regions, economic losses arising from parasitic infections directly or indirectly contribute to poverty and hamper economic growth. Regrettably, there are currently no effective vaccines against the diseases that they cause. This is, in part, due to a lack of understanding of their underlying mechanisms of pathogenesis and of how protective immunity is orchestrated in these diseases. Research that elucidates the host, immunological and parasitic factors that regulate disease outcome (susceptibility or resistance) could yield novel targets for therapeutic and immunotherapeutic interventions. It could also aid vaccine design and vaccination strategies to protect against infection or to prevent disease.
The Federation of African Immunological Societies (FAIS) is an umbrella organization that brings together the national immunological societies in Africa. It aims to promote training and research in immunology on the continent. As exemplified by the eradication of Smallpox and the near-eradication of Polio, immunology research can be a powerful contributor to the health and economic development of Africa.
In general, parasites have co-evolved with their human hosts in a manner that facilitates their on-going transmission. The majority of infections are apparently asymptomatic whilst a minority lead to clinical disease. In this Research Topic, the FAIS welcomes the submission of Original Research, Review and Mini-Review articles that cover studies that discuss the following sub-topics specifically focused on parasitic diseases that afflict African countries:
(i) The mechanisms orchestrating immune responses to parasitic infection.
(ii) Host immune-parasite interactions and immune evasion mechanisms.
(iii) Control/vaccination strategies against parasitic diseases.
Submissions with a core immunological focus addressing the following diseases are welcomed: (i) African Trypanosomiasis; (ii) Leishmaniasis, (iii) Malaria, (iv) Schistosomiasis, (v) Helminthiasis, (vi) Toxoplasmosis and (vii) Amoebiasis.
We acknowledge the initiation and support of this Research Topic by the International Union of Immunological Societies (IUIS). We hereby state publicly that the IUIS has had no editorial input in articles included in this Research Topic, thus ensuring that all aspects of this Research Topic are evaluated objectively, unbiased by any specific policy or opinion of the IUIS.
Keywords: Parasitic diseases, Immuno-pathogenesis, Host-parasite interactions, Vaccine, Vaccination strategies, Immune regulation
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