Responsible for up to 30,000 deaths annually, leishmaniasis is a complex spectrum of diseases endemic in 97 countries around the globe. Disease control relies heavily on the early diagnosis and treatment of the active cases (relevant for anthroponotic disease), although it is widely accepted that a prophylactic vaccine for human leishmaniasis is the way to achieve the successful elimination of human disease (taking in consideration the vast list of non-human reservoirs that enable the perpetuation of parasites all around the globe). The notion that infection leads to strong and long-lasting immunity against leishmaniasis supports vaccination as an achievable goal. However, and in spite of the different candidates tested along the years, till date, we still do not have an approved vaccine for humans. In this chapter, we will explore the last advances made in the field of vaccines against Leishmania without forgetting the historical perspective, essential to the understanding of the road already undergone. We will then discuss the correlates of disease and protection, still neither consensual nor definitive, as well as the issue of pre-clinical to clinical translation. The complete understanding of these issues will be essential for the approval of a successful vaccine for human leishmaniasis.
Part of the book: Leishmaniases as Re-emerging Diseases