A partnership and financing agreement has just been signed between the Principality of Monaco and the French institute, INSERM, to lend support to research work, called Bilhvax 3, for the development of a vaccination against bilharziosis, the second major parasitic disease after malaria.
In a similar vein to the programmes implemented in Mali and Niger to combat sickle cell disease, this new partnership demonstrates the intent of the Monaco Government, via its international development cooperation, to take action within the field of neglected diseases which still affect a billion people in the most underprivileged countries.
It is estimated that the disease, due to the horrendous lesions it causes (renal failure, cancer…) kills over 280 000 people and infects over 200 million people worldwide every year.
It develops more particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa where there is a lack of heath facilities and access to drinking water.
Currently the only existing treatment, chemotherapy, is limited (expensive, does not protect against new contamination...). The vaccination is therefore the most sustainable solution.
The agreement, for a five-year period, allows for funding from Monaco amounting to 425 000€, the total cost of the project representing over 10 million euros. Other financial sponsors include the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Northern Pas de Calais Regional Council.
With the view of testing the effects of the candidate vaccine, clinical trials are being carried out on a population living on the banks of the Senegal River, greatly affected due to the construction of weirs and the major development of irrigation systems, and efficiency tests continued.
Once the clinical trials have been successfully completed with a satisfactory immune response in children causing no serious side effects and the final phase commenced, the vaccination could be accepted by the European Medicines Agency (EMEA) and used by International Organisations (WHO, UNESCO…) for the benefit of the most underprivileged populations.
The Department of External Relations
Office of International Cooperation (+377 98 98 44 88 )
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