The research component of Cystinet-Africa is organized into four planned research tasks over different partners and countries. These research tasks (one partner site takes care of one research package) can be grouped into overall research work packages that, in turn, contribute to human, animal and community health.

Human Health

Assessment of the epidemiology of TSCT/NCC in populations of Mozambique, Tanzania and Zambia (Research tasks 1-4)

In this section of the research work packages, the prevalence of TSCT/NCC in almost 15,000 people in four large cross-sectional community-based studies will be assessed using a locally adapted mobile data collection system. In addition, a comprehensive clinical/neurological, parasitological, immunological and radiological (CT scan) hospital-based work-up will be conducted in people sero-positive for TSCT, including vulnerable groups such as children, people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWH/A) and people suffering from epilepsy.

Evaluation of the pathomechanisms involved in the development of symptomatic NCC in immunocompetent and immunocompromised (PLWH/A) individuals in Mozambique and Tanzania (Research tasks 1-2)

With an expected impact on the development of new therapeutic strategies, this part of the research works will investigate the immunological markers that are associated with the development of symptomatic NCC in immunocompetent people and PLWH/A as well as the clinical course and immune responses among PLWH/A with T. solium cysticercosis/NCC after initiation of Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy.

Assessment of pathomechanisms involved in different treatment responses in people with symptomatic NCC under standard treatment in Mozambique (Research task 1)

Here, clinical, parasitological and immunological parameters in immunocompetent people with symptomatic NCC under standard antihelminthic treatment will be investigated. This will help to adjust treatment recommendations.

Animal Health

Establishment of an experimental pig model for T. solium cysticercosis in Zambia (Research task 3)

The establishment of a reproducible T. solium experimental pig model in Zambia will foster the study of the biology and the pathogenesis of porcine cysticercosis which will help to guide further research in human disease.

Investigation of pig breed susceptibility to T. solium in Zambia (Research tasks 3)

The determination of the susceptibility of pig breeds to experimental and natural infection with T. solium is of importance for the recommendations for breeding management by local farmers, thereby reducing transmission of T. solium.

Community Health

Development, evaluation and implementation of a health education intervention package for the prevention and control of TSCT in Tanzania (Research tasks 4)

This research task will be essentially implemented in Tanzania with the aim of developing a locally adapted health education intervention package to improve knowledge of TSCT and reduce prevalence of porcine cysticercosis as well as cumulative incidence of human cysticercosis.

The following schema depicts an overview of overall research work packages, their interactions and contributions of each research task divided into the three pillars of research within CYSTINET-Africa, e.g. human, animal and community health.

Research task 1: Eduardo Mondlane University (EMU) & Mozambique Institute for Health Education and Research (MIHER), Mozambique

Research task 2: National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR), Tanzania

Research task 3: The University of Zambia (UNZA), Zambia

Research task 4: Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA), Tanzania

Partner: Technical University of Munich (TUM), Germany