Bionaturis continues the development of BNT005, a vaccine against Visceral Canine Leishmaniasis, a disease that affects dogs and is spread in Mediterranean countries as Spain, being registered an increasing rate of zoonosis (when an animal disease infects humans) lately. The visceral one is the most serious type of Leishmaniasis and it can be lethal if it is not treated well. It is caused by the parasites Leishmania and transmitted by the bite of the phlebotomine sandfly that acts as a vector.

Nowadays there is not any vaccine already in the market to prevent or treat humans against this disease, being its development a priority of the World Health Organization (WHO). The current treatment with antiparasitics has undesirable side effects and it causes the outbreak of resistance phenomena in the parasite. However, for dogs there are few options approved in Europe and LATAM, that claim themselves as prophylactic but not therapeutic.

Dogs among rabbits are the main reservoir of Leishmaniasis. Because of that, its control is essential to avoid the spread of this disease in humans (zoonosis). “A vaccine against canine Leishmaniasis has a double goal. Firstly, in the animals, which will be protected or can be treated against a disease that is fatal in a high percentage of cases. And, secondly, in humans, who will have less possibilities of suffering the disease if their pets do not have the parasite or they have them under control”, Bionaturis’ CSO, Juan Jose Infante, has stated.

Tests in rodents and Beagle dogs

Infante has also stood out that “the difference between BNT005 by Bionaturis and others vaccine attempts to fight this disease is that the preliminary results obtained and published in the last annual management report show that Bionaturis’ vaccine induces an specific immune response in the vaccinated animal that is more similar to the one observed in individuals that have been infected by the parasite, what is essential to talk about a vaccine not only prophylactic but also therapeutic”. An update of the ongoing trial results will be published in september within the half-year financial report.

WHO estimates a global prevalence in humans of 12 million cases (in the different varieties of the disease).  Between 1.5 and 2 million of new cases are detected in the world. That’s why visceral Leishmaniasis is considered as the main parasitic disease, only overcome by malaria. The biggest outbreak of Leishmaniasis in humans occurred recently in Madrid and it registered 500 cases in three years.

If you want to check WHO’s figures, please click here