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Tropical Infectious Diseases

Three tropical parasitic infections are the subject of intensive research in the department, namely malaria, schistosomiasis and leishmania. The other area of research is virology, including the study of naturally occurring simian immunodeficiency viral infections (SIV) and experimental HIV/SHIV infections in primates. Collectively, these diseases account for severe mortality and morbidity in the developing countries, according to WHO reports.

The initial goal of the department was to establish primate models for all four diseases and after many years of focused research, this has been successfully accomplished. Thus we now have primate models for Schistosomiasis and malaria (Olive baboon, Papio anubis), Leishmaniasis (African Green or Vervet monkey, Cercopithecus aethiops) and viral diseases (Olive baboon and African Green monkey).

This has allowed scientists at the department to venture into various scientific investigations on these infections and currently there are ongoing studies on the basic biology, immunology, chemotherapy and vaccination.


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