Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Scientists Step Closer To New Treatments For River Blindness

Date:
April 16, 2006
Source:
University of Liverpool
Summary:
Veterinary scientists in Liverpool have found that some African cattle have natural immunity to a parasite, similar to that which causes River Blindness in humans.

The larval stage of Onchocerca ochengi used in the vaccine.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Liverpool

Veterinary scientists in Liverpool have found that some African cattle have natural immunity to a parasite, similar to that which causes River Blindness in humans.

Related Articles


These new findings, by scientists at the University's Faculty of Veterinary Science and the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, indicate that it may be possible to vaccinate humans against River Blindness. The disease causes blindness in thousands of people in some of the poorest countries in the world, particularly in West and Central Africa.

River Blindness, or Onchocerciasis, is caused by a parasitic worm and leads to severe itching of the skin and lesions of the eye which can result in blindness. The parasite is spread by black flies which breed in rivers and deposit the larvae of the worm into the person they bite. The disease develops over a long period of time, particularly in young adults, eventually preventing them from working and farming and hence feeding themselves and rearing their families.

Professor Sandy Trees, at the University's Faculty of Veterinary Science, said: "Onchocerciasis has been the target of major international efforts to control and ultimately eradicate it, but it still presents a huge burden to health in many impoverished countries. To see if a vaccine is feasible for the disease we looked at whether immunity exists naturally and whether it can be induced."

The team investigated immunity in cattle infected with a very closely related worm - Onchocerca ochengi - that causes lumps to appear on the animal's skin but does not cause blindness or illness. Examining infected cattle in Cameroon, the team found that some cows naturally develop resistance to Onchocerca ochengi.

They also showed that cattle which were normally susceptible to infection could be successfully immunised using a vaccine composed of minute parasite larvae, weakened by a controlled dose of radiation in the laboratory. After two years of natural exposure to infected black flies, the number of worms in vaccinated cattle was far lower than in unvaccinated animals.

Professor Trees added: "Although the immunisation method that we tested in cattle would not be suitable for human use, this research provides the first proof that immunisation against onchocerciasis is possible and hence it may be feasible to protect humans from the parasite using some form of vaccination."

There is currently no safe drug available to cure the disease fully as treatments only kill the young Onchocerca volvulus worms and not the adults. Researchers are now looking to further understanding of how some cattle develop natural immunity when some do not, which will assist in targeting potential treatments for River Blindness.

The research, funded by the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, is published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Liverpool. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Liverpool. "Scientists Step Closer To New Treatments For River Blindness." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 April 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/04/060415113618.htm>.
University of Liverpool. (2006, April 16). Scientists Step Closer To New Treatments For River Blindness. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/04/060415113618.htm
University of Liverpool. "Scientists Step Closer To New Treatments For River Blindness." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/04/060415113618.htm (accessed November 28, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, November 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New Dinosaur Species Found in Museum Collection

New Dinosaur Species Found in Museum Collection

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 27, 2014) A British palaeontologist has discovered a new species of dinosaur while studying fossils in a Canadian museum. Pentaceratops aquilonius was related to Triceratops and lived at the end of the Cretaceous Period, around 75 million years ago. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Reuters - Entertainment Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) The iconic piano from "Casablanca" and the Cowardly Lion suit from "The Wizard of Oz" fetch millions at auction. Sara Hemrajani reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) Researchers in the United States are preparing to discover whether a drug commonly used in human organ transplants can extend the lifespan and health quality of pet dogs. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) The US FDA is announcing new calorie rules on Tuesday that will require everywhere from theaters to vending machines to include calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins