Parasitology Research

, Volume 118, Issue 6, pp 1701–1710 | Cite as

A review of Eimeria antigen identification for the development of novel anticoccidial vaccines

  • J. Venkatas
  • M. A. AdelekeEmail author
Protozoology - Review


Coccidiosis is a major poultry disease which compromises animal welfare and costs the global chicken industry a huge economic loss. As a result, research entailing coccidial control measures is crucial. Coccidiosis is caused by Eimeria parasites that are highly immunogenic. Consequently, a low dosage of the Eimeria parasite supplied by a vaccine will enable the host organism to develop an innate immune response towards the pathogen. The production of traditional live anticoccidial vaccines is limited by their low reproductive index and high production costs, among other factors. Recombinant vaccines overcome these limitations by eliciting undesired contaminants and prevent the reversal of toxoids back to their original toxigenic form. Recombinant vaccines are produced using defined Eimeria antigens and harmless adjuvants. Thus, studies regarding the identification of potent novel Eimeria antigens which stimulate both cell-mediated and humoral immune responses in chickens are essential. Although the prevalence and risk posed by Eimeria have been well established, there is a dearth of information on genetic and antigenic diversity within the field. Therefore, this paper discusses the potential and efficiency of recombinant vaccines as an anticoccidial control measure. Novel protective Eimeria antigens and their antigenic diversity for the production of cheap, easily accessible recombinant vaccines are also reviewed.


Antigenic diversity Coccidiosis Eimeria Poultry Vaccine 


Funding information

The National Research Foundation (NRF) provided financial support (Grant numbers: 112768 and 116935).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Discipline of Genetics, School of Life SciencesUniversity of KwaZulu-NatalDurbanSouth Africa

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