Research priorities for helminth infections
This report presents an evaluation of current research and challenges in controlling the helminthiases of public health importance, including onchocerciasis, lymphatic filariasis, soil-transmitted helminthiases, schistosomiasis, food-borne trematodiases and taeniasis/cysticercosis. The evaluation covers five major themes – intervention, epidemiology and surveillance, environmental and social ecology, data and modelling, and fundamental biology. The work is the output of the disease reference group on helminth infections (DRG4), which is part of an independent “think tank” of international experts, established and funded by the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR), to identify key research priorities through the review of research evidence and input from stakeholder consultations.
Over a billion people in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and the Americas are infected with one or more helminth species, causing morbidity that helps maintain the vicious cycle of poverty, decreased productivity, and inadequate socioeconomic development.
Despite the recent demonstrated successes and expansion of tools for the helminthiases and the development of some research capacity, the evaluation found major deficiencies in current control tools, diagnostics, and fundamental knowledge of helminth biology and transmission dynamics, as well as in capacity and policy for health research.
Recommendations for improving disease control and reducing poverty are presented to inform public health policy, guide implementation programmes, and focus the research community on the needs of disease control and the opportunities for bettering human welfare.
The Disease Reference Group on Helminth Infections (DRG4) is part of an independent think tank of international experts, established by TDR to identify key research priorities. The mandate of DRG4 was to evaluate information on research and challenges in helminthiases of public health importance, including onchocerciasis, lymphatic filariasis, soil-transmitted helminthiases, schistosomiasis, food-borne trematodiases and taeniasis/cysticercosis. This is one of ten disease and thematic reference group reports that have come out of the TDR Think Tank, all of which have contributed to the development of the Global Report for Research on Infectious Diseases of Poverty.