Meeting Report:The Schistosomiasis Action Plan: Next Generation Research on the Road towards Elimination
The GSA held a research-focused meeting on the 28thof October 2018 in New Orleans. The meeting was organized by the co-chairs of the GSA Research Working Group, Dr Poppy Lamberton and Dr Jutta Reinhard-Rupp. The meeting opened with Professor David Rollinson, Director of the GSA, giving an update on the GSA Action Plan for schistosomiasis followed by an overview of the GSA’s Working Groups. This was followed by updates from the leads of COR NTD Schistosomiasis related workshops, particularly focused on operational research priorities and next steps.
The meeting session on morbidity started with a call to action on Female Genital Schistosomiasis (FGS) from Dr Pamela Mbabazi (WHO, Geneva), a scrutiny of FGS early detection markers and other morbidity markers by Dr Amaya Bustinduy (LSHTM) and an outline of the Morbidity Operational Research for Bilharziasis Implementation Decisions (MORBID) study by Dr Evan Secor (CDC). The next session looked at novel research in new technologies starting with the use of transgenics in Biomphalaria glabrata and implications for snail control by Dr Nic Wheeler (Merck – Wisconsin Madison), Dr Meta Roestenberg (LUMC) discussed her work on assessing the feasibility of developing a controlled human infection model (CHIM) to test schistosomiasis vaccines, new S. haematobium antigen targets for an antibody-based point of care diagnostic tests presented by Prof. Alex Loukas (James Cook) and two talks on schistosomiasis vaccine candidates: Prof. Afzal Siddiqui (TTUHSC) presented research on the Sm-p80 vaccine candidate, and Dr Maria-Elena Bottazzi BCM) on the Phase 1 trials of the Sm-TSP-2 vaccine. The final session of the meeting looked at the progress towards schistosomiasis elimination with Dr Jaspreet Toor (Imperial College) presenting modelling insights into achieve WHO schistosomiasis targets and elimination goals, Dr Fatma Kabole (Ministry of Health, Zanzibar) highlighting lessons learnt from the Zanzibar Elimination of Schistosomiasis Transmission programme and Dr Pauline Mwinzi (WHO AFRO) who gave an overview of ESPEN and programmatic challenges for schistosomiasis elimination.