Schistosomiasis vaccine development: progress and prospects
Memórias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz
95 95 95 95 95 The undisputed, worldwide success of chemotherapy notwithstanding, schistosomiasis continues to defy control efforts in as much rapid reinfection demands repeated treatment, sometimes as often as once a year. There is thus a need for a complementary tool with effect for the longer term, notably a vaccine. International efforts in this direction have been ongoing for several decades but, until the recombinant DNA techniques were introduced, antigen production remained an
... mained an unsurmountable bottleneck. Although animal experiments have been highly productive and are still much needed, they probably do not reflect the human situation adequately and real progress can not be expected until more is known about human immune responses to schistosome infection. It is well-known that irradiated cercariae consistently produce high levels of protection in experimental animals but, for various reasons, this proof of principle cannot be directly exploited. Research has instead been focussed on the identification and testing of specific schistosome antigens. This work has been quite successful and is already at the stage where clinical trials are called for. Preliminary results from coordinated in vitro laboratory and field epidemiological studies regarding the protective potential of several antigens support the initiation of such trials. A series of meetings, organized earlier this year in Cairo, Egypt, reviewed recent progress, selecteded suitable vaccine candidates and made firm recommendations for future action including pledging support for large-scale production according to good manufacturing practice (GMP) and Phase I trials. Scientists at the American Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have drawn up a detailed research plan. The major financial support will come from USAID, Cairo, which has established a scientific advisory group of Egyptian scientists and representatives from current and previous international donors such as WHO, NIAID, the European Union and the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation.