Featured Paper: 25 Years of the Onchocerca ochengi Model

We would like to point out the review article “25 Years of the Onchocerca ochengi Model” written by Benjamin Makepeace (University of Liverpool) and Vincent Tanya (Cameroon Academy of Sciences), describing past and ongoing Onchocerca ochengi research.


Although of limited veterinary significance, Onchocerca ochengi has become famous as a natural model or ‘analogue’ of human onchocerciasis (river blindness), which is caused by Onchocerca volvulus. On the basis of both morphological and molecular criteria, O. ochengi is the closest extant relative of O. volvulus and shares several key natural history traits with the human pathogen. These include exploitation of the same group of insect vectors (blackflies of the Simulium damnosum complex) and formation of collagenous nodules with a similar histological structure to human nodules. Here, we review the contribution of this natural system to drug and vaccine discovery efforts, as well as to our basic biological understanding of Onchocerca spp., over the past quarter-century.


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