Anti-tick Vaccines to Prevent Tick-borne Diseases in Europe
ANTIDotE ran from December 2013 to November 2018. The overall objective was to identify and characterise tick proteins involved in ‘tick immunity’ and tick-borne pathogens (TBPs) 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 to the skin that interfere with host defence mechanisms. However, in animals, repeated tick infestations and vaccination against selected tick proteins can lead to decreased pathogen transmission by inhibiting tick feeding - known as ‘tick immunity’ - or by neutralising tick proteins that facilitate the transmission of 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, animals, and wildlife to reduce the risk of contracting TBDs for humans indirectly.
The ANTIDotE project significantly contributed to the understanding of and steps towards the downscaling of TBDs in Europe. ANTIDotE delivered:
- Essential knowledge of the biological mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis of tick-borne diseases;
- Experimental proof of concept of an anti-tick vaccine - based on single or multiple antigens - protecting against multiple human tick-borne pathogens;
- A road map for the development, exploitation and implementation of anti-tick vaccines.
ANTIDotE has received funding from the European Union through the Seventh Framework Health Programme (FP7-HEALTH) under Grant agreement 602272.