The impact of differential parasite exposure on immunological and metabolic predictors of vaccine response in the tropics


  • Dr Gyaviira Nkurunungi

    MRC/UVRI & LSHTM Uganda Research Unit, Uganda

Project summary

Vaccines are an essential public health tool, but some have lower effectiveness, and induce impaired immune responses, in tropical versus temperate high-income countries and in rural, versus urban, tropical settings. The reason for this is incompletely understood. It is likely that a person's immune activity and metabolic state (from diet, infection or body cellular processes) determine strength and quality of their vaccine-induced response. In the tropics, this state is shaped greatly by parasites (such as malaria, worms). Three interrelated Ugandan trials are investigating effect of anti-parasitic treatment on vaccine-induced responses. Using samples from these trials, I will employ cutting-edge laboratory techniques and integrative computational analyses to assess pre- and post-vaccination immune and metabolic profiles, their associations with magnitude of vaccine responses, and how these profiles might mediate any effects of parasite exposure on vaccine responses. This work will inform strategies towards improving vaccine effectiveness among communities that greatly need them.