31 October 2018

The Pediatric Praziquantel Consortium played a leading role at schistosomiasis events in Brazil and Korea

Through a series of meetings and events, the Pediatric Praziquantel Consortium presented the latest achievements of the program and aligned further on next steps.

The importance of the Pediatric Praziquantel Program in the fight against schistosomiasis continues to be recognized by the global health and schistosomiasis communities. The Consortium presented its program at two symposia: the 15th International Symposium on Schistosomiasis in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and the 14th International Congress of Parasitology (ICOPA 2018) in Daegu, Korea.

The Symposium in Rio, which is the main scientific conference of 2018 devoted uniquely to schistosomiasis, covered a range of topics and innovations including recent progress in diagnosis, treatment and prevention. The Consortium was represented at this Symposium by Farmanguinhos, Brazil, and Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. Dr. Daniel Lacerda de Oliveira (Farmanguinhos) and Dr. Elly Kourany-Lefoll (Merck KGaA) presented the progress of the Pediatric PZQ program from the process development/manufacturing and clinical perspectives. Their presentations raised significant interest, and the panel discussion on ‘schistosomiasis in preschool-age children’ underlined the importance of this program in filling the treatment gap for this very young population. A partners’ booth, available throughout the symposium, also allowed for exchange of additional details on the program.

The Symposium was the perfect opportunity to hold a series of meetings in Brazil and to align on the next registration and access phases of the program. Meetings with Fiocruz and Farmanguinhos Management fostered ongoing partnership in the context of the Consortium program. A meeting at Farmanguinhos, involving project team members, fine-tuned certain technical aspects. A consultation with Anvisa (Regulatory Agency in Brazil) provided further input into the development/registration path for Brazil. Finally, during the celebration event of the Global Health Institute of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, the support of the program by the global health community was re-confirmed.

At ICOPA 2018 in Korea, the Consortium was represented by our new partner: the Université Félix Houphouët-Boigny from the Ivory Coast.  Prof. E. N’Goran, the main investigator of the Pediatric PZQ Phase II trial, presented the up-to-date clinical results in a session called ‘Paediatric schistosomiasis: new developments in disease surveillance and advancing praziquantel treatment’.

Continued Consortium exposure at main international scientific conferences is planned throughout the year. In addition to the 9th EDCTP Forum (Lisbon, Portugal), Consortium partners will also join the 67th ASTMH (New Orleans, US) to present the latest clinical data of the program.  There’s more to follow – so please stay tuned!