Volunteers Deliberately Infect themselves with Schistosomiasis to Develop Antiviral Drug

Volunteers Deliberately Infect themselves with Schistosomiasis to Develop Antiviral Drug

Tuesday, 13 March, 2018 - 06:15
London - Asharq Al-Awsat
Seventeen volunteers in the Netherlands have agreed to host parasitic worms in their bodies for 12 weeks in order to test new vaccines for Schistosomiasis.

Schistosomiasis is a chronic disease that afflicts more than 200 million people a year, killing thousands in sub-Saharan Africa and South America.

Meta Roestenberg, an infectious disease physician at Leiden University Medical Center, who is directing the research, said: “This experiment sounds odd and crazy. The idea of having a worm grow inside you is awful, however, the risk to the student volunteers is extremely small.”

A Dutch ethics board had agreed to the research.

Other researchers of this disease, however, have been skeptical about the study’s method, fearing there is no way to ensure that all of the tiny parasites can been evicted from the hosts.

At least two potential vaccines for Schistosomiasis were recently approved for early stage human trials.

This new research aims to prove that there is a quick and affordable way to test the vaccine in people.

Each volunteer was paid about $1,200 for his participation.

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