Method for the Detection of Schistosome Parasites
Schistosomes cause serious disease in humans and warm-blooded animals by living parasitically in the blood vessels draining the gut and bladder where they produce eggs that are passed out in the urine and feces. In man and animal hosts (dogs, cats, livestock), infection can produce severe debilitation often resulting in cirrhosis, bladder cancer and death. The disease ranks higher in prevalence than HIV/AIDS, is a leading cause of cirrhosis and bladder cancer in the world, and is second only to malaria in importance in endemic areas. Schistosome cercariae are water-borne parasitic larval forms that orientate to the water surface where they wait to contact and invade vertebrate hosts. Until now there has been no efficient means to monitor bodies of water for Schistosome infestation. The present invention, however, describes a new strategy for achieving this important task. By combining mass spectral analysis of processed samples together with recent information garnered from advances in bioinformatics and schistosome proteomics, this novel method permits the selective and specific detection of cercariae, the infectious lifecycle stage of the Schistosome parasite. This technology is suitable for large volume, high-throughput analysis of both environmental and biological samples. As such, it addresses an important niche in the worldwide detection, control, and management of Schistosome diseases including Bilharzia and Swimmer?s Itch. Description (Set) Proposed Use (Set) The technology can be used to obtain in a one-step process information on the presence, lifecycle stage, and infectitvity of Schistosome parasites. The technology invites application in the following areas: environmental monitoring of Schistosome parasites, medical screening of biological specimens for Schistosome parasites, risk assessment and exposure assessment, protection of health of civilians and military personnel deployed in the United States and abroad, monitoring of bioterrorism activities employing modified Schistosome parasites as infectious vehicles.
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