On August 18 2023, the kickoff investigator meeting for a crucial Phase 1b clinical trial for the Schistoshield® schistosomiasis vaccine took place in the Madagascar Institute for Vaccine Research (MIVR), with partners from the Groupe de Recherche Action Santé (GRAS) in Burkina Faso, the International Vaccine Institute, the University of Cambridge, and Pharmalys.
Over half the population of Madagascar (52.1%) is affected by Schistosomiasis, with 107 out of 144 districts reporting endemic cases of the debilitating disease, highlighting the urgent need for action.
The VASA consortium is spearheading the vaccine’s clinical development, supported by the European Union/Horizon 2020 and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. This collaborative effort is committed to tackling schistosomiasis, improving health prospects for people in Madagascar, Burkina Faso, and other affected regions. This is especially important in remote areas, where mass drug administration campaigns are hindered by logistical challenges and a successful vaccine could lead to significant improvements in well-being and livelihoods across these regions.
A heartfelt thanks to the dedicated VASA team for their work in preparing this groundbreaking study. Together, we will work to ensure we forge ahead, ensuring a healthier future through education and the hopeful integration of a schistosomiasis vaccine in the coming decade.
About the VASA consortium: The VASA consortium includes esteemed partners including the University of Antananarivo/MIVR, University of Ouagadougou/Institut Supérieur des Sciences de la Population (ISSP), the Groupe de Recherche Action Santé (GRAS), the University of Cambridge, the University of Gothenburg, the University of Tübingen, the Leiden University Medical Center, the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, PAI Life Sciences, and the International Vaccine Institute. This collaborative endeavor drives the clinical development of the schistosomiasis vaccine, aiming for a healthier future for communities in Madagascar, Burkina Faso, and beyond.