Ugandan Bilharzia Researchers meet with African and Global Partners to Discuss Differences in Disease Severity and the Development of Vaccines

SMRC Symposium

Entebbe, Uganda, 27thFebruary-1st  March 2023 – Bilharzia research experts at the Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI) and the Vector Control Division of the Ministry of Health have partnered with researchers of the Medical Research Council/UVRI and London School of Hygiene Uganda Research Unit, and partners in Gabon and the globe to address the challenge of widespread Bilharzia infection and the absence of an effective vaccine for Bilharzia and Hookworm in Africa’s most affected countries, including Uganda and Gabon.

Through a scientific symposium entitled “Uganda Schistosomiasis Symposium I: schistosomiasis research and controlled human infection studies for helminth vaccine development in Africa", the first of its kind in Africa, the experts delved into gaps in research of Bilharzia to add to on-going government disease control programs. The three-day symposium discussed the latest approaches to design, develop, and test vaccines that can be used to prevent these neglected tropical diseases commonly found in Uganda and Africa.

The symposium also linked scientists in different disciplines with stakeholders such as policy makers, community representatives, and secondary school students and created a global network to collaborate with the newly founded Uganda Schistosomiasis Research Center (U-SMRC) in Entebbe.

"Uganda has long been in the forefront of Bilharzia research and control initiatives - it's an honour to have the opportunity to bring together many important partners and next-generation researchers in this endeavour"- Professor Alison Elliott, Professor of Tropical Medicine, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

The meeting particularly drew attention to the differences in disease severity among Ugandan populations living beside Lake Albert and Albert Nile in comparison to those in the Lake Victoria region.

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