The VIBE-FGS-EUSAN project is a joint initiative by six partner universities in Europe and one partner university in Africa who have developed collaborative links in the last decade. This network of translational research aims to facilitate a strong collaboration between laboratories at the forefront of basic research and field projects trying to resolve tropical issues on the ground. In the poorer parts of the world, especially in Africa such integrated translational networks are rare. We aim to strengthen the partnership, to stimulate scientific achievements in the fields of biotechnology, clinical medicine, public health, and immunology.
The VIBE-FGS-EUSAN project was established in order to study the gender-related health problem of Female Genital Schistosomiasis (FGS), a neglected tropical disease. The parasite Schistosoma (Bilharzia) infects 200 million people and is the second most important parasite affecting human health after malaria. FGS is a previously unknown disease that may create gynaecological contact bleeding. In Zimbabwe we found that women with genital schistosomiasis had an almost 3-fold higher odds ratio of having HIV. FGS is waterborne, affecting women doing laundry or children playing in the rivers.
In a project in South Africa the field research is sponsored by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation through the University of Copenhagen. We intend to collect evidence of the effects of mass- treatment on genital lesions, and effects on HIV transmission and HIV susceptibility. The project will strengthen cooperation among partner organisations, developing long-lasting partnerships. In a bottom-up approach, following the ethos of the Marie Curie actions the exchange programme will enhance the quality and lift scientific competence of participating researchers, PhD and Masters students of seven universities.
Fields of science
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