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Leishmaniasis - a Forgotten Epidemic

March 2023

Written by the leishmaniasis team at the European Vaccine Initiative (EVI), an article entitled “Leishmaniasis — a Forgotten Epidemic” was recently published in the ‘Vaccines’ edition of the journal BioProcess International.

The publication describes the current efforts to develop an effective leishmaniasis vaccine by a group of scientists, coordinated by EVI and comprising researchers at the University of York (UK), the Institute of Endemic Diseases (Sudan), University of Gondar (Ethiopia), Kenya Medical Research Institute, and Makerere University (Uganda) within the PREV_PKDL project.

Figure 1: Life cycle of Leishmania parasites (ADAPTED FROM A FIGURE BY MARIANA RUIZ VILLARREAL. Leishmania. (2023, March 4). In Wikipedia.

The World Health Organization (WHO) considers leishmaniasis to be one of the world’s most neglected tropical diseases. As of January 2023, more than one billion people are at risk of infection with leishmaniasis, with over 18,700 deaths and up to 1.6 million disability-adjusted life years attributed to it annually. Early diagnosis and treatment of active cases are the mainstay of leishmaniasis control as no vaccine for human leishmaniasis is available yet.

Under the umbrella of this EVI-led project which aims to advance the clinical development of a novel vaccine, an adenovirus vector vaccine (ChAd63-KH) will be used to conduct a randomized placebo-controlled phase 1b–2 clinical trial in Sudan to determine whether vaccination of healthy adolescents with ChAd63-KH protects against leishmaniasis.


The PREV_PKD project is funded by the EDCTP2 Programme supported by the European Union (RIA2016V-1640; PREV_PKDL;

Cover image: Bone marrow aspirate from a liver-transplant recipient showing infection with visceral leishmaniasis (PAULO HENRIQUE ORLANDI MOURAO, HTTPS://WIKIPEDIA.ORG)

Leishmaniasis. (2023, February 26). In Wikipedia.


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