Project: Fast and reliable easy-to-use-diagnostics for eliminating Bilharzia in young children and mothers

Acronym FREEBILY (Reference Number: RIA2016MC-1626)
Duration 01/02/2018 - 31/01/2022
Project Topic Schistosomiasis is one of the 17 neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) listed by the World Health Organization (WHO). Currently, around 260 million people are at risk of the disease worldwide with the majority living on the African continent. The focus of the FREEBILY project is on the development of fast and reliable easy-to-use-diagnostics for eliminating bilharzia (schistosomiasis) in young children and mothers. The overall objective of the FREEBILY project is to thoroughly evaluate the accuracy of two well-established circulating antigen tests to diagnose Schistosoma infections in women and young children. The project consortium is comprised of 8 African and European partner institutions. The FREEBILY study includes two clinical trials in two different settings. One clinical trial is being conducted in Madagascar and focuses on the integration of the POC-CCA Test-Based-Schistosomiasis-Treatment (TBST) into routine mother-child primary health care programmes in order to demonstrate its usefulness for controlling intestinal schistosomiasis in pregnant women and young children. The other clinical trial is being conducted in Gabon and aims to evaluate the accuracy of the UCP-LF-CAA test in a cross-sectional, prospective clinical study in pregnant women for the detection of urinary schistosomiasis. To combine the sensitivity and specificity of the POC-CCA test for S. mansoni infections with the ultrasensitive and specific UCP-LF-CAA test, an additional objective of the FREEBILY project is the development of a CAA/CCA duplex test at the LUMC. In addition to the clinical trial in Madagascar, an additional objective of the FREEBILY project is to accurately assess cost-effectiveness of TBST using POC-CCA as a primary health care diagnostic approach with praziquantel treatment on child development in comparison with the traditional strategies. The FREEBILY project also provides capacity building and training opportunities for both African and European centres in helminth diagnostic techniques, applied epidemiology and mother-child public health interventions. For the first year of the project, activities started with a kick-off meeting in Tübingen, Germany in May 2018 attended by representatives of consortium partners from Madagascar, Gabon, Spain, Germany and The Netherlands as well as a representative from EDCTP. The kick-off meeting had many constructive and fruitful discussions and the first links between partners were established. Throughout 2018, preparations for the clinical trials were underway in both Gabon and Madagascar and included ethical permission submissions, field site identification and training of community health workers, nurses and laboratory personnel. Dissemination activities throughout the year were aimed at informing various groups about the objectives of the study as well as its longterm goal and potential impact on policy. The target groups for dissemination were potential study participants, policy-makers and also experts in schistosomiasis as well as neglected tropical diseases. The project website is: Twitter handle: @free_bily  
Network EDCTP2
Call Clinical trials and operational research studies to optimise the use of products for poverty-related diseases in mothers, newborns, children and/or adolescents

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
1 ACADEMIC HOSPITAL LEIDEN Coordinator Netherlands
2 Centre d’Infectiologie Charles Mérieux Partner Madagascar
3 Bernhard-Nocht-Institut für Tropenmedizin Partner Germany
4 Centre de Recherches Médicales de Lambaréné Partner Gabon
5 Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen Partner Germany
6 Fundación Privada Instituto de Salud Global Barcelona Partner Spain
7 Université d'Antananarivo Partner Madagascar
8 Université de Fianarantsoa Partner Madagascar