Justin Komguep Nono
Project Title: Identification of host-dependent molecular and microbial determinants of schistosomiasis transmission and burden
Host Organisation: University of Cape Town, South Africa
Schistosomiasis has "incapacitated" millions and killed hundreds of thousands annually for centuries, particularly in Africa, and continues to do so. It remains a public health and poverty-promoting concern for mankind as it causes pain, anemia, fatigue, impaired cognition, tissue fibrosis and ultimately death. There is no vaccine against the disease and the only available drug, praziquantel, does not prevent reinfection or fully reverse the associated tissue pathology. Therefore, the world health organization advocates for the development of adjunct strategies to end the disease transmission and stop the burden associated with this disease. This project will screen children samples from schistosomiasis endemic area in rural Cameroon provided with infection status and liver fibrosis scores. We will assess the genetic make-up and the microbes present in the children intestines by means of molecular analysis of the blood and stool samples, respectively. Particularities in the genetic make-up and / or the gut microbes of protected versus susceptible children will be determined. These particularities could then be tested as targets to end schistosomiasis reinfection and/or pathology.
This work reveals how powerful immunoparasitological studies are in general as a mean to solve major health thus societal and economic problems. It also stresses the relevance of our evolving line of investigation to combat schistosomiasis, as it proposes to assist the change of narrative from control to sustainable elimination of the disease.