A Decoy Artificial Snail Host to Control Schistosoma mansoni
Schistosomiasis is the second most socioeconomically devastating parasitic disease after malaria. Our vision is to develop a novel programme of applied research that will ultimately reduce the risk of human infection to Schistosomiasis. The aim is to develop an artificial snail that faithfully recapitulates the necessary chemical cues needed to attract Schistosome miracidia. Being chemically indistinguishable to the parasites from live snail, the artificial snails will effectively draw the parasites into them, and away from their intermediate host. As the parasite is unable to replicate in the artificial snail, we will cause a break in the life cycle of the disease and reduce transmission of cercarie to humans by reducing the population of infected snails. Research to identify the most promising parasite attractant released by snails has been completed. We are currently seeking funds to continue the research to develop a prototype artificial snail.