Worm infections are receiving increased attention due to: the wide geographic overlap in occurrence between worms and HIV, TB and malaria; the large proportion of individuals (minimal estimates around 25%) co-infected with worms and HIV/TB/ malaria; the potential risk of increasing disease burden; the very limited understanding of the impact by worm infections on HIV-, TB- and malaria-specific immune responses and on their clinical outcome; the lack of established intervention guidelines for treatment of worm infections; and the scarce information on the impact by worm infections on vaccination and vaccine-induced immune responses.
In order to address these complex and challenging scientific issues, IDEA project will focus its efforts on four primary objectives:
a) the worm-induced modulation of the functional and molecular profile of HIV-, TB- and malaria-specific immune responses,
b) the impact by worm co-infections on measures of disease activity of PRDs,
c) the immunologic markers of worm-, HIV-, TB- and malaria-specific immune responses associated with better control of pathogen replication and disease, and
d) the modulation by worm co-infections of vaccine-induced immune responses.
To achieve these objectives, IDEA project has developed a global and innovative strategy which includes:
- the alliance between African and European leading scientists in the field of worms, HIV, TB and malaria,
- the multidisciplinary expertise involving immunologists, parasitologists, epidemiologists, clinicians, and experts in vaccines,
- cutting edge immunology and the most innovative technologies to profile immune response,
- the access to large cohort studies bringing a number of centers working on worms and PRDs in Africa together, and
- the access to experimental HIV, TB and malaria vaccine candidates under clinical development in Africa.