Harmonization of research and control in schistosomiasis

R. F. Sturrock About the author

Abstract

I have been employed by several different organizations during over 30 years working on schistosomiasis, the majority spent in endemic areas of Caribean, South America, Africa and the Western Pacific. Much of the work is best classified as applied research but sometimes it strayed to the extremes of either public health control programmes or pure research. Over this period, there have been several significant research developments that have altered our whole approach to control. Ideally, research and control should complement each other but, in reality, they sometimes have conflicting objectives. Public health workers understandably wish to provide immediate, shot-term protection to the communities in their care, but research workers may, within ethical limits, reasonably want to observe untreated communities for extended periods in order to understand the underluing process of transmission, disease pathogenesis and immunity to help develop more effective control measures. An example of this situation has occured recently in Senegal where water development projects seem to have favoured the introduction and spreed of Schistosoma mansoni in the Senegal River Basin. I have been asked to be the scientific consultant to the newly formed ESPOIR programme, linking European research organizations and the Senegal Ministry of Health, to reconcile the conflictiong aims of public health workers, wishing to use whatever funds can be obtained for an immediate chemotherapy to try to eliminate the focus, at present confined to the vicinity of a relatively small, commercially run sugar irrigation scheme; and research workers who see a rare chance to study the development of immune mechanisms in a adults in a community not previously exposed to the infection. This information could prove invaluable in understanding the development of immunity and the pathogenesis of disease, leading eventually to the development of vaccines to revolutionise the future approach to schistosomiasis...

schistosomiasis; control


ABSTRACT

Harmonization of research and control in schistosomiasis

R. F. Sturrock1

London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Department of Medical Parasitology, London, UK

I have been employed by several different organizations during over 30 years working on schistosomiasis, the majority spent in endemic areas of Caribean, South America, Africa and the Western Pacific. Much of the work is best classified as applied research but sometimes it strayed to the extremes of either public health control programmes or pure research. Over this period, there have been several significant research developments that have altered our whole approach to control. Ideally, research and control should complement each other but, in reality, they sometimes have conflicting objectives. Public health workers understandably wish to provide immediate, shot-term protection to the communities in their care, but research workers may, within ethical limits, reasonably want to observe untreated communities for extended periods in order to understand the underluing process of transmission, disease pathogenesis and immunity to help develop more effective control measures. An example of this situation has occured recently in Senegal where water development projects seem to have favoured the introduction and spreed of Schistosoma mansoni in the Senegal River Basin. I have been asked to be the scientific consultant to the newly formed ESPOIR programme, linking European research organizations and the Senegal Ministry of Health, to reconcile the conflictiong aims of public health workers, wishing to use whatever funds can be obtained for an immediate chemotherapy to try to eliminate the focus, at present confined to the vicinity of a relatively small, commercially run sugar irrigation scheme; and research workers who see a rare chance to study the development of immune mechanisms in a adults in a community not previously exposed to the infection. This information could prove invaluable in understanding the development of immunity and the pathogenesis of disease, leading eventually to the development of vaccines to revolutionise the future approach to schistosomiasis...

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Publication Dates

  • Publication in this collection
    04 June 2009
  • Date of issue
    1992
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