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Keywords:

  • artemisinin;
  • drugs;
  • praziquantel;
  • schistosomiasis;
  • trioxaquine

Abstract

After malaria, schistosomiasis (or bilharzia) is the second most prevalent disease in Africa, and is occurring in over 70 countries in tropical and subtropical regions. It is estimated that 600 million people are at risk of infection, 200 million people are infected, and at least 200 000 deaths per year are associated with the disease. All schistosome species are transmitted through contact with fresh water that is infested with free-swimming forms of the parasite, which is known as cercariae and produced by snails. When located in the blood vessels of the host, larval and adult schistosomes digest red cells to acquire amino acids for growth and development. Vaccine candidates have been unsuccessful up to now. Against such devastating parasitic disease, the antischistosomal arsenal is currently limited to a single drug, praziquantel, which has been used for more than 35 years. Because the question of the reduction of the activity of praziquantel was raised recently, it is thus urgent to create new and safe antischistosomal drugs that should be combined with praziquantel to develop efficient bitherapies.