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Antipoverty Vaccines: Strategies against Neglected Tropical Diseases

Antipoverty Vaccines
Reported by
Marilynn Larkin

Posted April 02, 2008

Presented By

Vaccine Science and Emerging Infectious Diseases Discussion Groups


Neglected tropical diseases include parasitic and bacterial diseases that occur mainly in rural areas or impoverished urban areas of developing countries. These diseases, which are often disfiguring and stigmatizing, are considered poverty-promoting conditions because of their impact on pregnancy outcomes, child development, and worker productivity. Most neglected diseases are chronic, with high rates of morbidity. Some, such as leptospirosis, are associated with significant mortality. Through public-private partnerships, recombinant vaccines for some neglected tropical diseases are in development and various stages of testing.

A February 7, 2008, meeting at the Academy convened researchers working on such vaccines. A hookworm vaccine under development will target the infective L3 stage of hookworm and include an adult hookworm antigen. Chlamydia trachomatis's major outer membrane protein (MOMP) is a potential vaccine candidate to protect against disease caused by the pathogen. A novel family of proteins, Leptospira immunoglobulin-like (Lig) proteins, were identified as a putative virulence factor in leptospirosis.

Web Sites

Scientists Without Borders™
This new Academy initiative aims to address health and other problems in the developing world by bringing together scientists from disparate specialties, organizations, and locations. Click here to learn more, or register to be a part of this project and contribute to our database.

Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative
A global coalition of seven prominent organizations that seeks to bridge existing R&D gaps in essential drugs for these diseases by initiating and coordinating drug R&D projects in collaboration with the international research community, the public sector, the pharmaceutical industry, and other relevant partners.

Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases
A partnership formed in 2006 to raise the profile of neglected diseases and to stimulate a paradigm shift in disease control efforts. Visit to learn more about neglected tropical diseases and to find more related resources.

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases
A peer-reviewed, open-access journal dedicated to the field.

UN Milennium Development Goals
Find out more about the international community's efforts to address issues of poverty, disease, education, and sustainability in the developing world. Annual progress reports are also available.

WHO: Disability-Adjusted Life Years
Additional information about how DALY is calculated, with links to related resources.


Hotez P. 2008. Forgotten People, Forgotten Diseases: The Neglected Tropical Diseases and their Impact on Global Health and Development. ASM Press, Washington, DC.


Peter Hotez

Brooker S, Akhwale W, Pullan R, et al. 2007. Epidemiology of plasmodium-helminth co-infection in Africa: populations at risk, potential impact on anemia, and prospects for combining control. Am. J. Trop. Med. Hyg. 77: 88-98.

Diemert DJ, Bethony JM, Hotez PJ. 2008. Hookworm vaccines. Clin. Infect Dis. 46: 282-288.

Hotez PJ. 2008. The giant anteater in the room: Brazil's neglected tropical diseases problem. PLoS Negl. Trop. Dis. 2: e177. Full Text

Hotez PJ, Molyneux DH, Fenwick A, et al. 2006. Control of neglected tropical diseases. N. Engl. J. Med. 357: 1018-1027.

Luis de la Maza

Pal S, Peterson EM, de la Maza LM. 2005. Vaccination with the Chlamydia trachomatis major outer membrane protein can elicit an immune response as protective as that resulting from inoculation with live bacteria. Infect. Immun. 73: 8153-8160. Full Text

Pal S, Peterson EM, de la Maza LM. 2005. Vaccination of newborn mice induces a strong protective immune response against respiratory and genital challenges with Chlamydia trachomatis. Vaccine 23: 5351-5358.

Pal S, Peterson EM, Rappuoli R, et al. 2006. Immunization with the Chlamydia trachomatis major outer membrane protein, using adjuvants developed for human vaccines, can induce partial protection in a mouse model against a genital challenge. Vaccine 24: 766-775.

Sun G, Pal S, Sarcon AK, et al. 2007. Structural and functional analyses of the major outer membrane protein of Chlamydia trachomatis. J. Bacteriol. 189: 6222-6235. Full Text

Albert Ko

Gouveia EL, Metcalfe J, de Carvalho AL, et al. 2008. Leptospirosis-associated Severe Pulmonary Hemorrhagic Syndrome, Salvador, Brazil. Emerg. Infect. Dis. 14: 505-508.

Maciel EA, de Carvalho AL, Nascimento SF, de Matos RB, Gouveia EL, Reis MG, Ko AI. 2008. Household transmission of leptospira infection in urban slum communities. PLoS Negl. Trop. Dis. 2: e154. Full Text

Silva EF, Medeiros MA, McBride AJA, et al. 2007. The terminal portion of leptospiral immunoglobulin-like protein LigA confers protective immunity against lethal infection in the hamster model of leptospirosis. Vaccine 25: 6277-6286. Full Text

Tassinari WS, Pellegrini DC, Sá CB, et al. 2008. Detection and modelling of case clusters for urban leptospirosis. Trop. Med. Int. Health. [Epub ahead of print]


Peter J. Hotez, MD, PhD

The George Washington University
Sabin Vaccine Institute
e-mail | web site | publications

Peter Hotez is Walter G. Ross Professor and chair of the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Tropical Medicine at the George Washington University, and president of the Sabin Vaccine Institute. He works to develop vaccines for parasitic and tropical diseases, particularly for hookworm-induced malnutrition and anemia. In addition to his professional papers, he is the author of two books, Parasitic Diseases and Krugman's Infectious Diseases of Children. He has also authored articles on international science policy for publications including The Washington Post, Scientific American, and Foreign Policy. He also sits on the advisory council of the Academy's Scientists Without Borders initiative.

Hotez is the recipient of the Henry Baldwin Ward Medal from the American Society for Parasitologists and a Young Investigator Award from the Pediatric Infectious Disease Society, and a Fellow of the American Academy of Pedriatics (FAAP). He completed his MD and PhD at the medical scientist training program at Cornell University and the Rockefeller University. After completing his residency at the Massachusetts General Hospital, he was on the faculty of Yale University for 12 years, before joining George Washington University.

Luis M. de la Maza, MD

University of California, Irvine
e-mail | web site | publications

Luis de la Maza is director of the Division of Medical Microbiology at the University of California, Irvine. He is working to understand the viability of vaccinating experimental animals with purified major outer membrane protein (MOMP) of the C. trachomatis mouse pneumonitis biovar. His laboratory is also focused on improving the diagnostic methods for the detection of C. trachomatis in clinical specimens, specifically by exploring the use of polymerase chain reaction techniques. De la Maza completed his MD at the Facultad de Medicina, Spain, and his PhD at the University of Minnesota.

Albert I. Ko, MD

Weill Medical College of Cornell University
Fundação Oswaldo Cruz, Ministério da Saúde, Brazil
e-mail | publications

Albert Ko is an associate professor of Medicine at Weill Medical College of Cornell University and visiting researcher at the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, Brazilian Ministry of Health. He completed his MD at Harvard Medical School and was trained in internal medicine at the Brigham and Women's Hospital and in infectious diseases at the Massachusetts General Hospital. Since 1996 he has worked in the city of Salvador, Brazil, where he coordinates a Global Infectious Disease Training Program which focuses on infectious diseases that have emerged due to urbanization and urban poverty. Current research includes community-based cohort studies on leptospirosis, pneumonia, and meningitis among slum populations. Ongoing translational research focuses on identifying virulence factors in Leptospira and using these determinants to develop improved diagnostics and vaccine candidates for leptospirosis. The overall aim of these investigations is to train public health professionals and researchers in addressing emerging health problems in impoverished urban populations.

Marilynn Larkin

Marilynn Larkin is a medical editor, journalist, and videographer based in New York City. Her work has frequently appeared in, among others, The Lancet, The Lancet Infectious Diseases, and Reuters Health's professional newswire. She has served as editor of many clinical publications and is author of five medical books for general readers as well as Reporting on Health Risk, a handbook for journalists. She is currently head of publications for The Society for Biomolecular Sciences.

In 2004, Ms. Larkin started her own fitness consulting company (, and developed a class, Posture-cize, that helps people improve their posture, increase productivity, and reduce injury.