Onchocerca volvulus: The Road from Basic Biology to a Vaccine

Trends Parasitol. 2018 Jan;34(1):64-79. doi: 10.1016/j.pt.2017.08.011. Epub 2017 Sep 22.


Human onchocerciasis - commonly known as river blindness - is one of the most devastating yet neglected tropical diseases, leaving many millions in sub-Saharan Africa blind and/or with chronic disabilities. Attempts to eliminate onchocerciasis, primarily through the mass drug administration of ivermectin, remains challenging and has been heightened by the recent news that drug-resistant parasites are developing in some populations after years of drug treatment. Needed, and needed now, in the fight to eliminate onchocerciasis are new tools, such as preventive and therapeutic vaccines. This review summarizes the progress made to advance the onchocerciasis vaccine from the research laboratory into the clinic.

Keywords: Onchocerca volvulus; elimination; vaccine; vaccine candidates.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antiparasitic Agents / pharmacology
  • Antiparasitic Agents / standards
  • Antiparasitic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Drug Resistance
  • Humans
  • Onchocerca volvulus / drug effects
  • Onchocerciasis, Ocular / drug therapy
  • Onchocerciasis, Ocular / immunology
  • Onchocerciasis, Ocular / prevention & control*
  • Onchocerciasis, Ocular / transmission
  • Vaccines*


  • Antiparasitic Agents
  • Vaccines