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The Basel based Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH) is leading the newly founded HELP consortium, which brings together research institutes, pharmaceutical companies and other partners in an effort to develop new drugs for infections caused by parasitic worms.
Close to a billion people worldwide are affected by infections caused by parasitic worms (helminths), which can cause itching and diarrhea, but also blindness and growth retardation.
To help fight these debilitating diseases, an international group of research institutes, universities, non-profit organizations and pharmaceutical companies have teamed up to create a new consortium called the Helminth Elimination Platform (HELP). Led by Swiss TPH, the consortium’s goal is to develop new drugs for treating these infections.
“By bringing together experience in pharmaceutical development and translational medicine with disease specialists, we will bolster the empty anthelminthic drug pipeline, and put us on the path towards curative drugs that target one or more of these debilitating parasitic worm infections,” Jennifer Keiser, head of the Helminth Drug Development Unit at Swiss TPH and consortium coordinator said in a press release.
HELP is funded through the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program and will run to September 2024. It will undertake activities ranging from drug discovery to development. The European and African partners will focus their efforts on ‘nematode’ worms that are transmitted through contaminated soil and will test the efficacy of existing drugs used to treat these infections.