Merck Intensifies Research Initiatives to Fight Schistosomiasis

Merck Intensifies Research Initiatives to Fight Schistosomiasis

  • Pediatric Praziquantel Consortium starts pivotal Phase III study to address an unmet need in paediatric schistosomiasis in Kenya
  • Neglected tropical disease schistosomiasis affects almost 240 million people worldwide and causes about 200,000 deaths per year

NAIROBI, Kenya, October 10th, 2019,-/African Media Agency (AMA)/- Merck, a leading science and technology company, today announced that, as part of its integrated Schistosomiasis Elimination Program, it is intensifying the Research & Development efforts for developing and providing access to transformative and sustainable health solutions to fight schistosomiasis. Merck, through its Global Health Institute, has established a portfolio of innovative and collaborative projects for new or adapted treatments, sensitive schistosomiasis diagnostics, technologies to control transmission, and research educational approaches to strengthen health systems in developing countries.


Through the Pediatric Praziquantel Consortium program, Merck is currently engaging in a clinical Phase III study to address an unmet need in paediatric schistosomiasis, conducted in Kenya and in Ivory Coast.

“As a leading company in the fight against schistosomiasis, Merck wants to impactfully contribute to the control and elimination of the disease through sustainable innovation development” said Petra Wicklandt, Head of Corporate Affairs at Merck.

“The availability of a paediatric medication is essential to address the medical need of infected pre-school age children. Our investment today secures our future generation” said Dr. Maurice Odiere, Principal Investigator for the Phase III trial and Principal Research Officer at the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI).


Together with renowned partners, Merck is also performing drug discovery activities for potential new treatments and is collaborating for new sensitive diagnostics to improve mapping and case detection of schistosomiasis. In addition, Merck is investing into innovative technologies for vector control and clean water to control transmission. The recently announced Eisai / Merck partnership addresses this topic.

Merck complements these R&D activities by donating up to 250 million praziquantel tablets annually of the standard of care treatment to the World Health Organization.

Through all these programs, Merck plays a leading role towards defeating schistosomiasis as a serious public health burden.

Distributed by African Media Agency (AMA) on behalf of Merck.

About Schistosomiasis
Schistosomiasis (also known as bilharzia) is one of the most prevalent parasitic diseases in sub-Saharan Africa, caused by parasitic flatworms called schistosomes. It affects almost 240 million people, mainly in communities without access to safe drinking water and with poor sanitation, and with an estimated number of deaths of about 200,000 per year. The parasites live within freshwater snails and infect humans by penetrating the skin. The disease can lead to chronic inflammation of the organs, which can be fatal but also leads to anaemia, stunted growth and impaired learning ability with devastating consequences for the lives of the young children.

About Merck  
Merck, a leading science and technology company, operates across healthcare, life science and performance materials. Around 52,000 employees work to make a positive difference to millions of people’s lives every day by creating more joyful and sustainable ways to live. From advancing gene editing technologies and discovering unique ways to treat the most challenging diseases to enabling the intelligence of devices – the company is everywhere. In 2018, Merck generated sales of € 14.8 billion in 66 countries.
Scientific exploration and responsible entrepreneurship have been key to Merck’s technological and scientific advances. This is how Merck has thrived since its founding in 1668. The founding family remains the majority owner of the publicly listed company. Merck holds the global rights to the Merck name and brand. The only exceptions are the United States and Canada, where the business sectors of Merck operate as EMD Serono in healthcare, MilliporeSigma in life science, and EMD Performance Materials. 

Media Contact

Caroline Van Romondt Vis
+216 31 338 109

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