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Clin Microbiol Rev. 2008 Jan;21(1):225-42. doi: 10.1128/CMR.00046-07.

Current status of vaccines for schistosomiasis.

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Molecular Parasitology Laboratory, Queensland Institute of Medical Research, 300 Herston Road, Brisbane Q4006, Australia.


Schistosomiasis, caused by trematode blood flukes of the genus Schistosoma, is recognized as the most important human helminth infection in terms of morbidity and mortality. Infection follows direct contact with freshwater harboring free-swimming larval (cercaria) forms of the parasite. Despite the existence of the highly effective antischistosome drug praziquantel (PZQ), schistosomiasis is spreading into new areas, and although it is the cornerstone of current control programs, PZQ chemotherapy does have limitations. In particular, mass treatment does not prevent reinfection. Furthermore, there is increasing concern about the development of parasite resistance to PZQ. Consequently, vaccine strategies represent an essential component for the future control of schistosomiasis as an adjunct to chemotherapy. An improved understanding of the immune response to schistosome infection, both in animal models and in humans, suggests that development of a vaccine may be possible. This review considers aspects of antischistosome protective immunity that are important in the context of vaccine development. The current status in the development of vaccines against the African (Schistosoma mansoni and S. haematobium) and Asian (S. japonicum) schistosomes is then discussed, as are new approaches that may improve the efficacy of available vaccines and aid in the identification of new targets for immune attack.

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