In DepthInfectious Diseases

Worms living in your veins? Seventeen volunteers said ‘OK’

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Science  23 Feb 2018:
Vol. 359, Issue 6378, pp. 853-854
DOI: 10.1126/science.359.6378.853

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A research group in the Netherlands is infecting healthy volunteers with Schistosoma mansoni, one of five tiny waterborne worm species that cause schistosomiasis. They hope to create a human model that could help speed up the development of new drugs and vaccines against the disease, which sickens millions of people and kills thousands each year. The team says the risk to volunteers is very low because the study is designed to prevent the parasites from reproducing. But some scientists argue that it's not low enough because there is no guarantee that subjects will get rid of their parasites when the study is over.