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SCHISTOSOMIASIS

The snail in the coffin of millions.

Itself an innocent bearer of disaster, the aquatic snail is unwitting host to a parasitic fluke that penetrates the skin, causing  Schistosomiasis or Bilharzia.

This debilitating and fatal disease is particularly fond of children, attacking during work or play in river areas.  The parasite circulates in the bloodstream, developing into worms that infect liver, spleen, nervous system, intestine and bladder.

Anemia, anorexia, paralysis or death may follow; and eggs which pass from the child's body back into water seek and infect snails again, completing a savage live cycle.

The World Health Organization estimates over 300 million people in the developing are infected by Schistosomiasis, with 600 million in 74 countries constantly at risk.

Enter Endod, Phytolacca dodecandra, commonly called the African soap-berry plant

Whilst the cost of commercial molluscicides (man-made agents that zap the killer snail) is beyond the reach of precisely those countries most affected, the locally growing soap-berry has been found at least as effective.

Long used as a natural detergent by local people to wash clothes along river banks, Endod is poised to find a new and extraordinarily effective  role in the fight against Schistosomiasis.  It has also been found effective in controlling mosquito larvae. 

The Third World Medical Research Foundation has been asked by the Pathobiology Institute of Addis Ababa, in Ethiopia, to support further research on Endod.  Most pressing is the need to conduct toxicological studies to assess the soap-berry's safety for humans and animals.

If safe, Endod will be used to control and hopefully eradicate one of the most rapidly spreading parasitic diseases in many parts of Africa, the Middle East, Far East, the Caribbean Islands, and South America.

THE COST?

The turning point for Schistosomiasis and the millions at risk form it across the world:

$15,000 if laboratory time can be found.

$450,000 if laboratory facilities must be set up.

 

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Last modified: November 01, 2004

 

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