Fast and reliable easy-to-use diagnostics for eliminating bilharzia in young children and mothers: An introduction to the freeBILy project
Schistosoma antigen detection tests have a large potential for schistosomiasis control programs due to their ability to detect active and ongoing Schistosoma infections, their much higher sensitivity compared to microscopical methods, and the possibility to use non-invasive urine samples. Pregnant women and young children could especially benefit from affordable and easy-to-use antigen tests as inclusion of these vulnerable groups in mass drug administration campaigns will always require higher justification hurdles, especially in low to middle endemic regions with a higher proportion of individuals who are not infected and thus unnecessarily exposed to praziquantel.
The overall objective of the ‘fast and reliable easy-to-use diagnostics for eliminating bilharzia in young children and mothers’ (freeBILy, www.freeBILy.eu) project is to thoroughly evaluate the point-of-care circulating cathodic antigen (POC-CCA) and the up-converting phosphor reporter particle, lateral flow circulating anodic antigen (UCP-LF CAA) urine strip tests to diagnose Schistosoma infections in pregnant women and young children and to assess their potential as a schistosomiasis control tool in test-and-treat strategies. The freeBILy project will generate valuable, evidence-based findings on improved tools and test-and-treat strategies to reduce the burden of schistosomiasis in pregnant women and young children.