Schistosoma research moves from computer to laboratory

The computing phase of Say No to Schistosoma is now complete. The research team is analyzing the results and exploring the potential applications of the compounds that volunteers helped identify.

Over the past two years, World Community Grid volunteers have donated over 20,000 years of computing time to help a Brazilian research team identify chemical compounds that might disrupt the life cycle of Schistosoma parasites. The disease caused by these parasites (schistosomiasis) affects over 200 million people worldwide, primarily in Africa, Asia and South America. Unlike other widespread parasitic diseases such as malaria, schistosomiasis is relatively unknown outside of the geographic areas where it occurs. The disease is therefore an important target for additional research.

Thanks to the efforts of our volunteers, the research team has identified 18 compounds that may form the basis of a more effective treatment. These 18 compounds are currently being tested in vitro. The team still has additional simulation results to examine and may end up identifying and testing even more compounds.

At this point, the investigation moves from the computing realm to the laboratory bench. Computer simulations were able to say which compounds are likely to have an effect on Schistosoma. However, it will require extensive additional laboratory testing before researchers know for sure which (if any) compounds are effective and safe in humans.

World Community Grid involvement in this project is at an end, but we wish the research team boa sorte (good luck) as they combat this neglected disease.