TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 2016

Sabin Vaccine Institute issues statement on New York Times schistosomiasis article

Ambassador Michael W. Marine, the CEO of Sabin Vaccine Institute, issued a statement on Tuesday regarding the New York Times' publishing of a front-page article on the subject of schistosomiasis, a parasitic disease transmitted by freshwater snails.

Schistosomiasis infects more than 200 million people worldwide and causes horrific symptoms, especially in girls and women. The disease kills 300,000 people annually, making it the second deadliest parasitic disease after malaria.

The disease was featured in an article by Donald G. McNeil Jr. titled "A Simple Theory, and a Proposal, on H.I.V. In Africa." The article said that schistosomiasis has been identified as a co-factor in the spread of HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa.

Marine applauded the New York Times for drawing attention to the problem, which is largely neglected as a major disease by policymakers and the media.

In his statement, Marine recommended an expansion in mass drug administration programs that treat and prevent the disease. He also called for an increase in support for the development a schistosomiasis vaccine.

The Sabin Product Development Partnership's Schistosomiasis Vaccine Initiative is currently developing such a vaccine through a joint venture with the Texas Children's Hospital and the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

Marine thanked the New York Times for their feature, as it will help energize efforts to overcome the disease.