Research wins the 2016 Young Researcher Award’s Doctorate Category for identifying proteins candidate for leptospirosis vaccine and diagnosis

Publicação: 9 de November de 2016

Leptospirosis mainly strikes the poorest, and is among the diseases receiving little resources for research and treatment

The vaccines currently available have specific serovar and short-term immunity

The vaccines currently available have specific serovar and short-term immunity

A research that identifyed proteins from the Leptospira interrogans bacteria serovar Copenhageni, that has potetial to be appied in new serological tests for leptospirosis diagnosis as well as vaccine candidates against the disease, won the 2016 Young Researcher Award under the Doctorate category. The work entitled “Antibody profiling in patients with mild and severe leptospirosis: a genome-wide protein microarray approach”, developed by Doctor Carolina Lessa Aquino, was recognized with the honour during the 52nd Congress of the Brazilian Society of Tropical Medicine (MedTrop), held in Maceió (AL).

“The research was also important to study the patients’ immune response during natural infection by Leptospira, since we noticed patients with different clinical manifestations had very distinct antibody profiles, with a possible connection between previous antibody presence and protection against the disease’s severe forms”, explained researcher Carolina.

In the project, all proteins from the Leptospira interrogans bacteria serovar Copenhageni were obtained by recombinant DNA techniques, to build a protein microarray. Serum from mild and severe leptospirosis patients, as well as from healthy individuals, living in Salvador (BA), were hibridized in the microarrays to indentify sero-reactive proteins.

Leptospirosis is a wide-spectrum disease with clinical manifestations, varying from an acute fever disease to the severest form, characterized by kidney and liver failure and hemorrhagic lung syndrome.

The clinical diagnosis of the disease is complicated due to non-specific symptoms, common to other diseases as dengue, flu and malaria, for example. Laboratory diagnosis, on the other hand has a low sensitivity during the initial phase of the disease, when antimicrobial therapy is most effective. Besides this, according to Carolina Lessa, the vaccines currently available have serovar specific and short-term immunity.

“Within this context, the development of new diagnostic tests, as well as effective vaccines, is fundamental to treat and prevent the harms related to this disease”, she said while complementing studies similar to this, assessing the immune response among patients infected by Leptospira, are important in this matter, adding knowledge in the field and supporting the development of new tests and vaccines.

The work is part of the Project “Urban Leptospirosis: Determinant Studies about the disease”, funded by the International Collaboration in Infectious Disease Research / NIH and coordinated by Doctor Albert Ko, proffessor at Yale University, USA. The winning study’s main researcher and advisor to the doctorate thesis is Doctor Marco Alberto Medeiros. Also joined the work researchers Janet C. Lindow, Arlo Randall, elsio Wunder, Jozelyn Pablo, Rie Nakajima, Algis Jasinskas, Mitermayer Galvão Reis, Philip L. Felgner.

The project involved a multidisciplinary team composed of some 20 people, including physicians, researchers from different formations, technicians and scientific initiation students, both from masters and doctorates.…