About My Health Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us
Medindia LOGIN REGISTER
Advertisement

Prawns Eliminate a Major Parasite More Effectively Than Drugs

by Bidita Debnath on July 25, 2016 at 10:56 PM
Font : A-A+

 Prawns Eliminate a Major Parasite More Effectively Than Drugs

A new drug held the promise of wiping out a disease in the late 1970s, that currently affects more than 250 million people. Nearly 40 years later, the drug, praziquantel, has yet to make a dent in the global burden of schistosomiasis, an infestation of parasitic flatworms that can cause liver failure, bladder cancer and lasting cognitive impairment.

A new Stanford-led analysis of national health interventions over the past century shows that controlling the snail populations through ecological interventions keeps the disease in check more effectively than drugs alone.

Advertisement


The findings, published in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, upend the current status quo of drug-only treatment by showing that ecological tactics such as introducing snail-eating prawns to local water sources have consistently proven the most effective way to reduce schistosomiasis prevalence.

After praziquantel's introduction, environmental interventions such as snail control fell out of favor and became seen as "old-fashioned," according to the researchers. While the drug has been used successfully to treat millions of people - for less than 30 cents a treatment, it clears parasites from infected people with minor side effects - its lasting impact is limited. That's because treated people often re-enter contaminated water to bathe and clean clothing, among other chores, repeatedly exposing themselves to reinfection.
Advertisement

"We have to examine the drivers of infection and address transmission and reinfection cycles from both the human and environmental angles if we want to make a long-term impact," said lead author Susanne Sokolow, a research associate at Stanford's Hopkins Marine Station. "For schistosomiasis control, that means addressing the snails that carry the parasite."

"Our work adds a crucial piece to the puzzle of effective strategies to fight schistosomiasis," said co-author Giulio De Leo, a biology professor at Hopkins Marine Station and a senior fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment.

After examining the history of schistosomiasis control strategies in 83 countries and territories, the researchers found programs that used widespread snail control, either alone or in conjunction with drug administration, reduced the proportion of the population infected with the disease by over 90 percent. By comparison, programs that used little or no snail control reduced schistosomiasis prevalence by less that 40 percent.

Sokolow and De Leo lead a team that has pioneered work to curb schistosomiasis's spread by reintroducing native prawns that eat disease-carrying snails. The team received early funding from the Stanford Woods Institute's Environmental Venture Projects seed grant program. Preliminary results from a demonstration project in Senegal show that the reintroduction of prawns in pens at river access points led to fewer snails and reduced transmission of schistosome parasites to people.

Through a grant from Seed, the Stanford Institute for Innovation in Developing Economies, the researchers recently launched the Program for Disease Ecology, Health and Environment at Stanford in collaboration with the Woods Institute and the Center for Innovation in Global Health. The new program focuses on finding sustainable ecological solutions to a range of diseases.

"In the bigger picture, for other diseases that have environmental phases, who knows what creative solutions might exist like we have seen for schistosomiasis?" Sokolow said. "Let's bring our creativity back to these important problems and think beyond the pills." De Leo and Sokolow are both senior fellows at Stanford's Center for Innovation in Global Health.

Source: Eurekalert
Advertisement

Advertisement
News A-Z
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
News Category
What's New on Medindia
Good Nutrition Linked to Better Mental Health in School Children
Convulsions / Seizures / Fits - Symptom Evaluation
World Heart Day 2021 -
View all

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Drug Toxicity Tapeworm Infections Trypanosomiasis Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Drugs Banned in India Babesiosis 

Recommended Reading
When Drugs Fail to Treat, Prawns Play Savior to People Suffering from Schistosomiasis
Spread of schistosomiasis, a deadly parasitic disease that can cause anemia, infertility, and other ...
Oldest Ever Schistosomiasis Egg Found may be First Proof of Early Human Technology Exacerbating Disease Burden
In a 6200-year-old grave at a prehistoric town by the Euphrates river in Syria, the discovery of a ....
Uptake of Schistosomiasis Treatment in School Children Improved by Pretreatment Snack
The increase in uptake of treatment in school-aged children in Uganda with the provision of a snack ...
Scientists Report Progress in Understanding Immune Response in Severe Schistosomiasis
A mechanism that may help explain the severe forms of schistosomiasis has been uncovered by ......
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
Find out more about the degenerative disease- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis....
Babesiosis
Babesiosis is an infection caused by transmission of Babesia parasites from animals to humans. It ma...
Drug Toxicity
Drug toxicity is an adverse reaction of the body towards a drug that results as a side effect of a d...
Drugs Banned in India
Several drugs are either banned or withdrawn after introduction in the market....
Tapeworm Infections
Tapeworms are a group of parasites that depend on humans for growth and cause intestinal infection i...
Trypanosomiasis
Sleeping sickness or Trypanosomiasis is a vector-borne parasitic disease which can trigger life-thre...

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2021

This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use