Particularly in the context of elimination efforts, it will be essential to be able to detect very low-level worm burdens and whether praziquantel treatment has resulted in cure.
As a result of input received during a meeting of experts, including some with expertise in test development for other pathogens besides schistosomes, SCORE is initially focusing on optimizing an existing glycan test, with nucleic acids and peptides to be considered should glycans prove unsatisfactory. The Circulating Anodic Antigen (CAA) is of particular interest because it appears to have excellent specificity.
SCORE is funding investigators at the University of Leiden to further optimize the CAA test. This includes continuing to optimize the current assay to increase sensitivity while maintaining specificity and assessing its use in the field. The possibility of commercialization is being explored.