Anti-tick Vaccines to Prevent Tick-borne Diseases in Europe.
Overall objective is to identify and characterize tick proteins involved in ‘tick immunity’ and TBP transmission and to use this knowledge to develop anti-tick vaccines to prevent multiple human TBDs.
Background Ixodes ricinus transmits bacterial, protozoal and viral pathogens that cause Lyme borreliosis, babesiosis and tick-borne encephalitis respectively and exceedingly affect Central and Eastern Europe. During feeding, ticks introduce salivary proteins in the skin that interfere with host defense mechanisms. However, in animals repeated tick infestations as well as vaccination against selected tick proteins can lead to decreased pathogen transmission by inhibiting tick feeding - known as ‘tick immunity’ - or by neutralizing tick proteins that facilitate the transmission of tick-borne pathogens (TBPs). Also humans with hypersensitivity to tick-bites have a lower risk of contracting tick-borne diseases (TBDs). Therefore, anti-tick vaccines encompass an innovative strategy to prevent TBDs in humans, or animals and wildlife to indirectly reduce the risk of contracting TBDs for humans.