Field trial of efficacy of the Leish-tec® vaccine against canine leishmaniasis caused by Leishmania infantum in an endemic area with high transmission rates
Because domestic dogs are reservoir hosts for visceral leishmaniasis (VL) in Brazil, one of the approaches used to reduce human disease incidence is to cull infected dogs. However, the results of controlled intervention trials based on serological screening of dogs and killing of seropositive animals are equivocal. A prophylactic vaccine to protect dogs from being infectious to the sand fly vector could be an effective strategy to provide sustained control. Here, we investigated whether a
... tly licensed commercial subunit rA2 protein-saponin vaccine (Leish-tec ® ) had an additional effect to dog culling on reducing the canine infectious populations. Methodology/Principal findings This prospective study was conducted in an L. infantum highly endemic area of southeast Brazil. At the onset of the intervention, all of the eligible dogs received through subcutaneous route a three-dose vaccine course at 21-day intervals and a booster on month 12. For the purpose of comparison, newly recruited healthy dogs were included as the exposed control group. To ascertain vaccine-induced protection, dogs were screened on clinical and serological criteria every 6 months for a 2-year follow-up period. Antibody-based tests and histopathological examination of post-mortem tissue specimens from euthanized animals were used as a marker of infection. The standardized vaccine regime, apart from being safe, was immunogenic as immunized animals responded with a pronounced production of anti-A2-specific IgG antibodies. It should be noted the mean seroconversion time for infection obtained among immunized exposed dogs (* 18 months), which was twice as high as that for unvaccinated ones (* 9 months). After two transmission cycles completed, the cumulative incidence of infection did differ significantly (P = 0.016) between the vaccinated PLOS ONE | https://doi.