Global health R&D at work in Iowa
Iowa State University researchers are looking for solutions to schistosomiasis, a devastating disease caused by parasitic worms. The worms can live for years in the human bloodstream, laying eggs that cause organ damage and impaired development in children. The disease is found in tropical areas, especially in poor communities without safe drinking water and adequate sanitation. More than 200 million people per year require treatment for schistosomiasis. Only one drug is currently available to fight the disease, but the parasites show signs of resistance. The Iowa team is examining the worm’s genome for vulnerability that could be targeted with new drug treatments. They’re also focusing on gene editing to make the worms sterile, thereby eliminating their ability to inflict damage.