The Schistosome Snail Resource (SSR) is an open access biomedical resource that aims to generate and make freely available live schistosome life-cycle stages, snail intermediate hosts and related material for schistosomiasis research. It’s main focus will be to provide bespoke material, species and strains, not currently available in laboratory life-cycle systems in the UK.
The SSR is a partnership between the Natural History Museum and the LSHTM with additional key collaborations within other institutions in Africa, USA and Europe that maintain schistosome life-cycles.
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Schistosomes, transmitted by fresh water snails, infect >200 million people in low/middle income countries, particularly sub-Saharan Africa. While substantial advances have been made in the control of human schistosomiasis, the diversity and complexity of schistosomes and their specific fresh-water snail hosts warrants fundamental research requiring lifecycles and live material. Without the availability of Schistosoma lifecycles future research faces substantial obstacles; currently very few labs are able to maintain the parasites and/or the snail hosts and current long-term cultures lack the genetic heterogeneity observed in natural populations. Our proposal is for the creation of a Schistosome and Snail Resource (SSR), maintaining live material and lifecycles that are currently limited or that do not exist elsewhere.
The SSR will provide access to:
- the “standard/model” Schistosoma and snail species;
- key African Schistosoma species/strains;
- cultures of diverse snail vectors, enhancing current research and capacity while enabling new research avenues.
Our historical expertise in establishing and maintaining unique schistosome and snail isolates from different endemic settings, together with our state-of-the art snail facility (NHM) and LSHTM rodent facility will facilitate the development of the resource. The SSR will add considerable value by facilitating priority research needed to support schistosomiasis control and elimination.
The SSR is a partnership between the Natural History Museum, London and the LSHTM with additional key collaborations within other institutions in Africa, USA and Europe that maintain schistosome life-cycles.