Blog posts

A New Hope

Help me agar, you are my only hope.

With the efforts of previous weeks directing our methods, week 3 passed very quickly with relative efficiency. This week had a few aims.

  • Using what had already been learnt, experiment with new traps based on different mediums
  • Choose the most effective protein dye
  • Further examine the effects of cercariae penetration on elastase release

With regard to our first criteria we experienced relative success! From previous weeks we had learnt the importance of leaving adequate time for the cercariae to burrow. Wax also did not seem like a good medium and so we experimented with a variety of new chemicals.

The second week and we’ve given up snail

“The Snail is a deadly and cunning beast…”

The freshwater snail has been voted within the top 10 most devastating animals to man. Vectors of Schistosomiasis, a condition which currently affects over 260 million people.

Week 2 

This week had two main aims:

  • Through a “stain and count”procedure determine the most effective wax trap for attracting schistosomes
  • Determine what the most effective protein-dye is for dying elastin tissue

Deceptively simple from the outset, these aims proved to be far more difficult to achieve in practice.

The start of our week began in the warm and hospitable environment of the Containment Level 2 Bio-Medical Laboratory at the Wolfson centre in the NHM.

The first week and we’ve given up beef

If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?

With two full weeks of the project completed, this blog is an excellent platform to reflect and expand on what we have achieved and what has been learnt.

The events of the past weeks have left us driven and more excited than ever, but have firmly grounded us in realising the amount of work and planning our ambitions require.

Week 1

Our project took off to an expected but slow start. We had compiled an extensive list of paraphernalia we required prior to the start of our placement, a lot of the early days were spent waiting for fundamental equipment to arrive to allow us to proceed.

CHaD – Project Aims

Hi there, and welcome to our first post as team CHaD. We are currently two and a half weeks into our project and have a lot to report!

Cercarial Helminth activity Detector  (CHaD)

First of all, let’s explain what we are doing. In basic terms, our idea is to create a simple parasite detection method for use in infected water. The parasite we are attempting to detect is called a Schistosome, and causes the disease Schistosomiasis (also known as Bilharzia).

Schistosomiasis is a truly devestating condition and cripples rural communities in some of the poorest areas of the world.