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COMSTECH Organizes Webinar on Understanding the Immunology of Kala-Azar Disease

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Islamabad, 27 October 2021 (GNP): Visceral Leishmaniasis (VL) is a neglected tropical disease accounting for the second-highest mortality worldwide, with an estimated 50,000 to 90,000 new cases annually. India alone accounts for 50% of the global VL cases.

Considering the growing drug-related toxicities, parasite resistance, HIV-coinfection, the development of an effective vaccine for Leishmaniasis remains a global priority, said Dr. Nahid Ali addressing the COMSTECH webinar online on Wednesday.

She said that a clear understanding of host immunology and the role of T cells in long-lasting memory generation is extremely essential to control hard-to-treat infections like VL.

Although human VL is characterized by high Leishmania-specific antibodies, inadequate, depressed CMI response and lack of protective cytokines are hallmarks of disease progression, she informed.

Dr. Nahid said that her clinical studies showed that a successful cure to this disease is possible. The life-long immunity against re-infection and relatively simple lifecycle of Leishmania parasites show the feasibility of vaccine development against this disease, she mentioned.

She suggested continuous efforts to develop DNA and protein-based vaccine candidates to confer desired T cells response in preclinical models.

Prof. Dr. M. Iqbal Choudhary introduced the speaker and said that it is really a very challenging work when we try to solve the problem of disease of interdisciplinary nature.

Prof. Nahid Ali received her Ph.D. degree from the University of Calcutta in 1985. She is a fellow of the World Academy of Sciences (TWAS), J.C. Bose national fellow, and one of the pioneers of the liposomal delivery systems used for vaccines and therapies.

The webinar was attended by over 100 academics, scientists, and the general public from OIC member states.

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