Vaccines against Arthropods

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  • Queensland Institute of Medical Research, Royal Brisbane Hospital, Commonwealth Scientific Industrial Research Organization, Division of Tropical Animal Production, Long Pocket Laboratories, Brisbane, Australia

The possibility of vaccinating hosts against blood-feeding arthropods using antigens derived from salivary gland, gut, and other tissues is reviewed. These vaccines directed against vector arthropods also have the potential to effect the arthropods capacity to transmit pathogens, and this is distinct from transmission-blocking vaccines that use antigens derived from pathogens. Antigen extracts have been used in attempts to vaccinate against fleas, lice, keds, flies, mosquitoes, and a number of tick species. A vaccine against the cattle tick, Boophilus microplus (Canestrini), using a recombinant antigen, has been tested under field conditions. Ticks feeding on vaccinated hosts are damaged by an immune response directed against their gut cells. Some die on the host, others engore but their fecundity is reduced. The Commonwealth Scientific Industrial Research Organization-Biotechnology Australia tick vaccine against B. microplus is cited as a model for the development of other vaccines. It is suggested that the weaker effects of vaccines against insects as compared with ticks are related to the different structure and physiologies of the gut rather than being related to time spent on the vertebrate host. These differences in the effects of vaccines on insects may favor vaccines which block the passage of pathogens into vector insects. Vaccines against mosquitoes have been shown to reduce susceptibility of mosquitoes to arboviruses. The potential of the different vaccines is discussed.