Among the diverse pathogen species known to cause morbidity and mortality in humans, parasitic helminths are by far the most prevalent but least understood. The current estimates of more than one billion people worldwide who are infected with one or more helminth (worm) species is clear evidence that basic and applied research focused on these pathogens is urgently needed for global human health. Moreover, basic science studies using helminth-based experimental systems have led to remarkable discoveries of new cell lineages and novel molecular and cellular pathways. It is clear that a vigorous dialogue needs to be instigated among clinicians, scientists and lay persons living in both endemic and non-endemic countries with the aim of solving the current barriers that result in helminth infection-induced morbidity across the globe.
The thought-provoking questions that will be discussed in this ePanel include:
Which countries have succeeded in reducing their helminth burdens in endemic populations and which methods were most effective?
What is the evidence to support the claim that helminth infections suppress auto-immunity and allergic disease?
What are the current hopes for a hookworm vaccine or vaccines against any other pathogen class?
Is antihelminthic resistance a growing problem and, if so, what can be done?
Can big pharma ever be solicited to focus on developing new classes of antihelminthic drugs?
Following the panel discussion broadcast, audience members watching the live event will be able to participate in a live Q&A with the panelists.