News Focus

A Worm Vaccine, Coming at a Snail's Pace

Science  01 Feb 2013:
Vol. 339, Issue 6119, pp. 502-503
DOI: 10.1126/science.339.6119.502

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Six flatworms cause a debilitating human disease called schistosomiasis. The worms can live for decades in blood vessels, shedding eggs that cause pain, severe blood loss, and malnutrition and that can damage the liver, kidneys, and spleen. According to the World Health Organization, schistosomiasis is the second most devastating parasitic disease in the world, after malaria. Though two vaccines are now in clinical trials, there are questions about both and the search for more is hampered by a lack of interest and money.