Harnessing Mycobacterium bovis BCG Trained Immunity to Control Human and Bovine Babesiosis

Reginaldo G. Bastos, Heba F. Alzan, Vignesh A. Rathinasamy, Brian M. Cooke, Odir A. Dellagostin, Raúl G. Barletta, Carlos E. Suarez

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Babesiosis is a disease caused by tickborne hemoprotozoan apicomplexan parasites of the genus Babesia that negatively impacts public health and food security worldwide. Development of effective and sustainable vaccines against babesiosis is currently hindered in part by the absence of definitive host correlates of protection. Despite that, studies in Babesia microti and Babesia bovis, major causative agents of human and bovine babesiosis, respectively, suggest that early activation of innate immune responses is crucial for vertebrates to survive acute infection. Trained immunity (TI) is defined as the development of memory in vertebrate innate immune cells, allowing more efficient responses to subsequent specific and non-specific challenges. Considering that Mycobacterium bovis bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG), a widely used anti-tuberculosis attenuated vaccine, induces strong TI pro-inflammatory responses, we hypothesize that BCG TI may protect vertebrates against acute babesiosis. This premise is supported by early investigations demonstrating that BCG inoculation protects mice against experimental B. microti infection and recent observations that BCG vaccination decreases the severity of malaria in children infected with Plasmodium falciparum, a Babesia-related parasite. We also discuss the potential use of TI in conjunction with recombinant BCG vaccines expressing Babesia immunogens. In conclusion, by concentrating on human and bovine babesiosis, herein we intend to raise awareness of BCG TI as a strategy to efficiently control Babesia infection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number123
JournalVaccines
Volume10
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2022

Keywords

  • Anti-Babesia vaccine
  • Babesia bovis
  • Babesia microti
  • Babesia spp
  • Bovine babesiosis
  • Human babesiosis
  • Mycobacterium bovis bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG)
  • Recombinant BCG
  • Trained immunity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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