Dr Marleen Werkman
Marleen is a mathematical modeller working on the DeWorm3 project at the Natural History Museum investigating the possibility of breaking the transmission of soil-transmitted helminths with Mass Drug Administration (MDA) only. The soil-transmitted helminths (STH) are major intestinal parasites of humans, comprising three main groups; the species Ascaris lumbricoides and Trichuris trichuria and the hookworm species. Recent focus has turned from control of STH towards elimination of transmission.
Lymphatic filariasis (LF) frequently co-occurs with STH and many regions have implemented programs to control it. LF programs employ community-wide MDA with albendazole to eliminate LF as a public health problem, simultaneously having an impact on the STH species.
The DeWorm3 program aims to leverage the benefit of LF treatment to break transmission of STH by continuing community-wide MDA treatment after the cessation of LF programs. Marleen uses mathematical modelling to examine the role played by treatment frequency, coverage levels and programme durations in achieving elimination and aid in the design of studies to test these hypotheses.