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Experimental vaccinology, revealing unnatural signatures of protection by repeat controlled human schistosome infection.

Project description

Discovering effective vaccine against human schistosome infection

Neglected tropical schistosomiasis affects millions of people, causing 300 000 deaths in Africa alone. The cure with schistosomicidal drugs is complicated by reinfection after exposure to contaminated water. While partial natural immunity only develops after decades of infection, the vaccine is not available. Funded by the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions programme, the ReCHISVac project aims to create an effective vaccine against human schistosomiasis. The study will use unique samples from controlled repeat Schistosoma mansoni infection models to identify novel antigens and protective cellular and cytokine responses. These data will be verified in comparative analysis to samples from naturally infected individuals. The identified antigens will be utilised in a preclinical development plan for translation into new treatment against schistosomiasis.


Schistosomiasis is a neglected tropical disease afflicting over 200 million people and causing 300,000 deaths in Africa alone. Whilst infections can be cleared with schistosomocidal drugs, individuals will become rapidly re-infected upon exposure to contaminated water. Partial immunity only develops naturally only after decades of constant infection, and there is no vaccine. Previous schistosome vaccine studies have been flawed, due to a lack of understanding of what constitutes a protective immune response, focus on single antigen targets, and a lack of pharmaceutical industry support or expertise for development.
Here, I propose to use unique samples from repeat Schistosoma mansoni controlled human infection (Sm-CHI) models to reveal novel antigens and corresponding cellular and cytokine responses that are protective against schistosomiasis. To evaluate how well this protective signature will translate to endemic countries, matched analyses will be performed in samples from naturally schistosome infected Ugandan individuals. Antigen-specific antibody and cellular immunology data will be combined utilising bioinformatic tools to reveal a signature of multiple antigens and immune responses associated with protection from schistosomiasis. Next, in a non-academic placement at Janssen Vaccines, I will express previously identified antigens, and develop a pre-clinical development plan to translate the identified protective immune signature into an effective vaccine against human schistosomiasis. This fellowship will form the basis of my future career development, to become an independent researcher in the field of schistosome vaccinology.


Net EU contribution
€ 234 530,40
Albinusdreef 2
2333 ZA Leiden

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West-Nederland Zuid-Holland Agglomeratie Leiden en Bollenstreek
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
No data

Partners (1)