Brazil claims successful test of parasite vaccine

Brazilian researchers say they have successfully tested a vaccine against schistosomiasis, a disease caused by parasitic worms that afflicts more than 200 million people worldwide.

"This is an unprecedented breakthrough in medicine that involved 30 years of scientific work," Dr Tania Araujo-Jorge, of the Oswaldo Cruz Institute in , said Tuesday. The institute receives public and private funding.

"We are confident that within three years Brazil will be able to distribute the first vaccine against , and help combat schistosomiasis, a disease that strikes the poorest because it is spread by unsanitary conditions."

The vaccine against the parasite, which also afflicts cattle, was developed from the reconstruction of a protein found in a species of worm.

The institute said it had successfully tested the vaccine in humans, but that more testing would be required in areas where the parasite is most common, mainly in Africa and South America.

The freshwater parasite can penetrate people's skin, and children are at especially high risk because they swim and bathe in .

Brazil has some 2.5 million cases of schistosomiasis, which initially causes an itchy rash, followed in subsequent weeks by fever, chills, coughing and muscle aches. After a few years, the disease can damage .

"While the mortality rate is low, schistosomiasis causes incapacity, which makes it a disease that is caused by poverty and one that perpetuates poverty," Araujo-Jorge said.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Genetic code cracked for a devastating blood parasite

Jan 18, 2012

(PhysOrg.com) -- Scientists have cracked the genetic code and predicted some high priority drug targets for the blood parasite Schistosoma haematobium, which is linked to bladder cancer and HIV/ AIDS and causes the insidious ...

Crucial gene activator in slow-killing parasite identified

Jan 05, 2012

In the complicated life cycle of ancient flatworms that cause schistosomiasis, Case Western Reserve University researchers have identified a gene activator crucial to development of the parasites within humans – a potential ...

Parasite infects poor women's reproductive organs

Oct 28, 2010

Faculty of Life Sciences at the University of Copenhagen shows that the parasitic disease, commonly known as snail fever, or schistosomiasis, almost eats its way into women's reproductive organs. Today researchers from all ...

Recommended for you

Study recalculates costs of combination vaccines

14 hours ago

One of the most popular vaccine brands for children may not be the most cost-effective choice. And doctors may be overlooking some cost factors when choosing vaccines, driving the market toward what is actually a more expensive ...

Drug watchdog urges vigilance in cancer drug theft

17 hours ago

Europe's medicine watchdog urged doctors Thursday to be vigilant in administering the cancer drug Herceptin, vials of which had been stolen in Italy and tampered with before being sold back into the supply chain.

Pyridoxine-doxylamine drug safety data lacking

Apr 16, 2014

(Medical Xpress)—The most commonly prescribed drug for pregnant women suffering from morning sickness in their first trimester does not prevent birth defects even though drug safety data says it does, according to research ...

User comments