Volume 71, Issue 6
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645


Artemether, a methyl ether derivative of dihydroartemisinin, not only exhibits antimalarial properties, but also possesses strong activity against schistosomula, the immature stages of a parasitic worm that can cause schistosomiasis. To test if the effect would be similar to that of irradiation with respect to the induction of immunologic protective responses, groups of mice were infected with cercariae and treated with artemether at 1–3 weeks post-infection. Control mice were either infected with normal cercariae or with cercariae exposed to radiation that permitted early development but not maturation of the parasites. The mice were challenged six weeks after the initial infection, and the mean numbers of schistosomes recovered in the various groups were calculated upon dissection eight weeks post-challenge. The administration of artemether two weeks after the initial infection resulted in 58% protection, while giving the drug three weeks post-infection increased the level of protection to 81%. This level of protection is as high as that normally obtained by immunization with irradiated cercariae (84% in the present study) and is superior to the level of resistance obtained with any individual schistosome vaccine candidate antigen thus far reported.


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  • Received : 12 Apr 2004
  • Accepted : 12 Jul 2004

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