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DeWorm3 Project launches deworming activities at trial sites to improve nutrition and health

Over 1.5 billion people, including 835 million children, in the world’s poorest communities, are infected with soil-transmitted helminths (STH), commonly known as intestinal worms, and are in need of deworming medications.  A single deworming pill is a safe and effective solution to combat worm infections that interfere with the body’s nutritional intake and impair developmental growth, especially in children.  Periodic mass deworming protects a community by removing or reducing the worm burden of infected community members, thereby decreasing the risk of new individuals becoming infected.  In 2016, Dr. Judd Walson (Department of Global Health), in collaboration with the Natural History Museum London and the University of Washington, launched the DeWorm3 Project to test the feasibility of interrupting transmission of STH using intensified mass drug administration strategies.  DeWorm3 is a cluster randomized trial comparing community-wide deworming efforts of individuals of all ages to standard-of-care deworming of school-age children at schools.  Findings from the clinical trial and accompanying implementation science research can support the development of STH program guidelines and innovative delivery strategies.  Deworming activities launched in 2018 in trial sites in Benin, India, and Malawi.

Dr. Arianna Means (left) and the Benin site study team at a meeting in Comè in April 2018.

Study teams from each site conducted complete community censuses to describe the demographics of local populations, followed by a series of field surveys to assess the prevalence and intensity of STH infections within each community.  During the initial assessment phases, site teams collected and analyzed more than 77,000 stool samples for intestinal worms.  As sites prepared to administer early rounds of mass deworming treatment to community members, teams collaborated with local health workers to educate communities about the importance, benefits, and safety of deworming.  To date, DeWorm3 distributed over 396,000 doses of deworming treatment to participants.

The project is also collecting data on additional factors, such as costs and organizational readiness of existing educational and health system infrastructures, as part of DeWorm3’s implementation science scope of work that contextualizes clinical research findings and provides guidance on opportunities to optimize the delivery of STH interventions. DeWorm3’s evidence will inform national and global policies and practices regarding opportunities to deliver community-wide mass drug administration within routine health programs.  Keep up with the latest DeWorm3 news and find study protocols on the Natural History Museum London website.  Read the latest publications in the PLoS NTDs DeWorm3 collection.

The University of Washington team includes collaborators across the Departments of Global Health and Epidemiology, Global WACh, and the International Clinical Research Center (ICRC).  Meet the team below:

Dr. Judd Walson – Principal Investigator; Professor, Global Health and Medicine
Dr. Arianna Rubin Means – Implementation Science Lead; Acting Assistant Professor, Global Health
Dr. Kristjana Ásbjörnsdóttir – Trial Protocol and Data Integrity Lead; Acting Assistant Professor, Epidemiology
Marie-Claire Gwayi-Chore – Research Assistant; PhD Student in Global Health Implementation Science
Sean Galagan – Data Reporting Manager
Mira Emmanuel-Fabula – Data Quality Manager
Dr. Barbra Richardson – Study Statistician; Research Professor, Biostatistics and Global Health [Adjunct]
Dr. Deborah Donnell – Statistician; Affiliate Associate Professor, Global Health
Dr. Katherine Thomas – Statistician; Director of Biostatistics Core at ICRC