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Journal of Tropical Medicine
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 631460, 12 pages
Review Article

Immunity to Visceral Leishmaniasis Using Genetically Defined Live-Attenuated Parasites

1Institute of Molecular Medicine, 254 Okhla Industrial Estate, Phase III, New Delhi 110020, India
2Division of Emerging and Transfusion Transmitted Diseases, Office of Blood Research and Review, Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, Food and Drug Administration, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA
3Institute of Pathology (Indian Council of Medical Research), Safdarjung Hospital, New Delhi 110029, USA

Received 28 April 2011; Accepted 1 July 2011

Academic Editor: Christian Engwerda

Copyright © 2012 Angamuthu Selvapandiyan et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Leishmaniasis is a protozoan parasitic disease endemic to the tropical and subtropical regions of the world, with three major clinical forms, self-healing cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL), mucocutaneous leishmaniasis (MCL), and visceral leishmaniasis (VL). Drug treatments are expensive and often result in the development of drug resistance. No vaccine is available against leishmaniasis. Subunit Leishmania vaccine immunization in animal models has shown some efficacy but little or none in humans. However, individuals who recover from natural infection are protected from reinfection and develop life-long protection, suggesting that infection may be a prerequisite for immunological memory. Thus, genetically altered live-attenuated parasites with controlled infectivity could achieve such memory. In this paper, we discuss development and characteristics of genetically altered, live-attenuated Leishmania donovani parasites and their possible use as vaccine candidates against VL. In addition, we discuss the challenges and other considerations in the use of live-attenuated parasites.