M. perstans is one of the most prevalent human parasites in sub-Saharan Africa. The Culicoides species are speculated to be the transmitting vector of M.perstans. However, knowledge of the exact Culicoides species in which infective larvae of M.perstans develop will help provide insights into the effect of bio-ecological niches in the prevalence of M.perstans infection. This will further enable public health action in reducing transmission and research into appropriate therapeutic strategies. Infection with M.perstans affects hosts’ immunity against mycobacterial diseases including TB and Buruli Ulcer. However, the immune modulatory effects of M.perstans infection on TB disease severity and recovery under treatment are not well understood. Previous studies have demonstrated that M.perstans infection induces regulatory immune cells and impairs the efficacy of BCG vaccination in protecting against active TB infection. To validate previous findings, studies assessing the effects of filarial infections, particularly M.perstans, in BCG-induced protection of high-risk and close contacts of active TB patients are warranted. 

Furthermore, there is a paucity of reliable methods to determine disease severity and monitor tuberculosis treatment response. Identification of plasma biomarkers of T-cell function as well as T cell-specific markers associated with tuberculosis infection, treatment, and recovery will enable monitoring of TB patients under therapy and reduce unfavorable treatment outcomes.

Our research focuses on addressing these research gaps to gain a deeper insight into the transmitting vector of M.perstans, regulatory effects of M.perstans infection on Tuberculosis disease pathogenesis, and BCG-vaccine-induced protection of children contact of active TB patients. In addition, it will facilitate the identification of reliable biomarkers of tuberculosis disease severity and treatment response.

Funding

Partners:

  1. Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research in Tropical Medicine (KCCR), Kumasi, Ghana
  2. Universitätsklinikum Düsseldorf, Germany
  3. Agogo Presbyterian Hospital, Agogo, Ghana
  4. Atebubu Municipal Hospital, Atebubu, Ghana
  5. St Matthias Catholic Hospital, Yeji, Ghana
  6. Sene District Hospital, Sene, Ghana

Principal Investigators:

Prof. Richard Odame Phillips

Prof. Marc Jacobsen

KCCR 25th Anniversary

Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research in Tropical Medicine (KCCR) is celebrating its 25th Anniversary. There will be a Symposium from the 29th to the 30th of November 2022.