That's how many people are afflicted each year with schistosomiasis, a neglected waterborne parasitic disease that is common in third-world countries. If left untreated, it can cause symptoms such as fever, organ failure, and eventual death.
The disease is caused by the parasite Schistosoma mansoni, which invades freshwater snails as an intermediate host. Once it is grown, the parasite infects humans by penetration through the skin.
Currently, only one viable treatment for this disease exists—praziquantel. Unfortunately, due to a lack of accessible healthcare in third-world countries, it often reaches schistosomiasis patients too late.
Our solution, SchistoGONE, targets schistosomiasis before it even infects humans. A bioreactor cultivates yeast cells that produce sanguinarine, a compound that is toxic to parasites but not other animals.
Plates with yeast will be placed on shores of infected waters, which will attract snails, the intermediate hosts for these parasites. Inside the snail, the yeast cells will lyse and release the compound, curing the snails of the parasites.