titel project

TheSchistoVac is a FP7-HEALTH-2009 Collaborative project funded by the European Commission, running from Feb 2010 - 31 July 2014, coordinated by Leiden University Medical Center.

Summary of the project and its main achievements

Schistosomiasis is an exceptionally chronic infection caused by the trematode worms of Schistosoma mansoni, S. haematobium and S. japonicum. More than 200 million people in many of the most resource‐deprived regions of the developing world are chronically infected with blood‐dwelling schistosome worms. Infection with these worms can cause chronic debilitating morbidity and result in a massive economic and social burden that is often underestimated, and treatment does not prevent reinfection, indicating a real need for a vaccine. The objectives of TheSchistoVac, carried out by a unique consortium of European and African participants, are to identify molecules on the skin stage schistosomula that can induce protective immune responses. Candidates selected from post-genomic analysis which are recognized by antibodies in human sera collected in endemic African areas were produced as recombinant proteins. These candidates were tested in in vitro parasite opsonisation assays and an in vivo models of vaccination in rats. Uniquely, the reactivity of candidate antigens at the cellular level with human T and B cells was as assessed using samples from newly collected endemic cohorts to discover protective cellular responses. The combined data point out a number of novel vaccine candidates that may be developed into an effective prophylactic vaccine against schistosome infections. By intense training and exchange programs between the participants of the project TheSchistoVac supported the formation of a nucleus of African scientists in helminth vaccine development.

The main findings, achievements and impact of TheSchistoVac are: