The Univeristy of York Department of Biology

Schistosomiasis Research Group

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Schistosomiasis Research at York

At York, our research focuses on the disease Schistosomiasis, one of the world’s most important parasitic diseases.  It is caused by a number of species of the parasitic worms of the genus Schistosoma which can infect humans, domestic livestock and wild animals. Schistosomiasis is a debilitating disease and infects up to 200 million people in many parts of South America, Africa and Asia.  In severe cases, infection can be fatal. Consequently, it is a disease of immense medical and veterinary importance.

Although there is an effective an effective drug treatment (Praziquantel), chemotherapy does not lead to an immediate resolution of pathology, it does not prevent re-infection (and so would require regular treatment in highly endemic areas) and there is the continuing risk that the parasite might develop resistance to the drug. Therefore, an effective vaccine which provided long-term protection against re-infection, and the development of pathology, is desirable.

Our main areas of research are to investigate the immune responses which result in protection against infection, to discover antigens which can be evaluated as vaccine candidates and to examine the processes which give rise to pathology.