There is currently no vaccine available to prevent schistosomiasis. A safe and effective vaccine is an important part of controlling the transmission of schistosomiasis. Researchers are working to improve the efficacy of identified vaccine candidates and are also conducting studies to better understand the mechanisms by which those vaccines elicit an immune response in animal models.
In 2015, researchers at an NIAID-funded Vaccine Treatment and Evaluation Unit in Texas tested a candidate vaccine to prevent infection with S. mansoni, the species of parasite that causes schistosomiasis in the Americas, in healthy people who had never been exposed to the parasite. This candidate is now being tested in adults in a small clinical trial in Brazil, where parasite exposure is common.
Several vaccine projects are aimed at reducing S. japonicum infection in cattle and water buffalo. Lowering parasite burdens in these common livestock would result in fewer human infections as well.