by Dr Peter Jourdan, Director of Science and Policy, DeWorm3, NHM
This recent interview outlines the plans and vision for DeWorm3, a major Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation-funded Museum project that is conducting rigorous research to provide evidence for the next generation of policies to guide the global control and elimination of infection by soil-transmitted helminths (STH).
STH are intestinal worms that cause a major neglected tropical disease (NTD) affecting millions of people worldwide in less-developed countries, especially in communities with poor access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene facilities. This disease has major impacts on quality of life, ability to work and economic development.
DeWorm3 aims to determine the most effective way to eliminate STH in communities – particularly the question of whether to treat children as a particular group or to treat the whole community.
Three sites will be selected from six shortlisted proposals to conduct the main research, and a number of external experts will be supporting DeWorm3 to achieve its objectives. Randomized Controlled Trials (RCT) will be conducted to look at how Mass Drug Administration (MDA) can best achieve elimination.
The research will start early 2017 and the results from DeWorm3 will inform global policy development, led by the World Health Organisation, endemic countries and other stakeholders (such as the UK government in its overseas development strategies) in the fight against neglected tropical diseases.
DeWorm3 will further complement other work currently undertaken at the Natural History Museum to control and eliminate neglected tropical diseases, such as the work on schistosomiasis, led by Dr David Rollinson and colleagues.