A Decoy Artificial Snail Host (DASH) to Control S. mansoni
Edwin Routledge of Brunel University in the United Kingdom will work towards developing an artificial snail decoy to attract the parasite Schistosoma mansoni, which causes chronic disease. The parasites first develop inside aquatic snails, which they locate via chemical cues (chemoattractants), before they can infect humans. Routledge will identify the relevant chemoattractants by isolating and fractionating chemicals from the snails, and test the ability of these chemicals to attract the parasites. Effective chemoattractants will be characterized and ultimately incorporated into a biodegradable matrix to generate an artificial snail that is easy to deploy in the field and can trap and destroy the parasites, thereby reducing human transmission.