Policy implications of the potential use of a novel vaccine to prevent infection with Schistosoma mansoni with or without mass drug administration
Schistosomiasis is one of the most important neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) affecting millions of people in 79 different countries. The World Health Organization (WHO) has specified two control goals to be achieved by 2020 and 2025 - morbidity control and elimination as a public health problem (EPHP). Mass drug administration (MDA) is the main method for schistosomiasis control but it has sometimes proved difficult to both secure adequate supplies of the most efficacious drug praziquantel to treat the millions infected either annually or biannually, and to achieve high treatment coverage in targeted communities in regions of endemic infection. The development of alternative control methods remains a priority.
In this paper, using stochastic individual-based models, we analyze whether the addition of a novel vaccine alone or in combination with drug treatment, is a more effective control strategy, in terms of achieving the WHO goals, as well as the time and costs to achieve these goals when compared to MDA alone. The key objective of our analyses is to help facilitate decision making for moving a promising candidate vaccine through the phase I, II and III trials in humans to a final product for use in resource poor settings.
We find that in low to moderate transmission settings, both vaccination and MDA are highly likely to achieve the WHO goals within 15 years and are likely to be cost-effective. In high transmission settings, MDA alone is unable to achieve the goals, whereas vaccination is able to achieve both goals in combination with MDA. In these settings Vaccination is cost-effective, even for short duration vaccines, so long as vaccination costs up to US$7.60 per full course of vaccination. The public health value of the vaccine depends on the duration of vaccine protection, the baseline prevalence prior to vaccination and the WHO goal.