A rational approach for predicting the minimum composition of anti-parasite sub-unit vaccines: a multiple target vaccine hypothesis

  • Vincent P.K. Titanji
  • Jerome Nyhalah Dinga
  • Raymond Babila Nyasa
Keywords: Vaccine, malaria, Onchocerca volvulus, schistosomiasis, parasite, equation


The present article introduces a new concept, termed a multiple vaccine target hypothesis (MVTH) for determining the minimum number of vaccine targets (epitopes/antigens) necessary to construct a highly efficacious (greater than 90%) anti-parasite vaccine. Drawing inspiration from the Metabolic Control Analysis (MCA) and immunological reasoning it is proposed that for a multi-stage parasite an effective anti-parasite vaccine will necessarily act on more than one stage of the parasite in the definitive host. It is argued that the minimum number of sub-unit targets for a highly efficacious anti-parasite vaccine will vary from one parasite to the other and will be equal to twice the number of major parasite stages occurring in the human host. Quantitatively stated, Cv=2n where Cv the number of required targets is, and n represents the number of major parasite stages in the definitive host. Conditions when the value of Cv may deviate from what is predicted by the formula given above are discussed. Extensive literature search on malaria, onchocerciasis and schistosomiasis sub-unit vaccine development suggests that subunit vaccines constructed from single components and directed to just one parasite stage are less efficacious that multivariate sub-unit vaccines, and obviously whole parasite vaccines. MVTH therefore provides a rational framework for constituting a sub-unit anti-parasite vaccine.

Keywords: Vaccine, malaria, Onchocerca volvulus, schistosomiasis, parasite, equation


Journal Identifiers

print ISSN: 2617-3948