New strategies to combat filariasis

Wuchereria bancrofti vespid, Immune response, Serum immune complexes diagnosis, Diethylcarbamazine (DEC), Wolbachia in filarial parasites, Interdigital skin lesions, Urban Filariasis, Doxycycline, mass drug administration program, Filarial Lymphedema Care, Detection of filarial parasites, Albendazole, research abstracts

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New strategies to combat filariasis

Postby patoco » Fri Jul 07, 2006 8:46 am

New strategies to combat filariasis

Two of the major filarial infections, lymphatic filariasis (LF) and onchocerciasis, affect 150 million people, while 1 billion living in endemic areas are at risk of infection. Public health programs to control these infections have successfully existed for years and have evolved from activities driven by the WHO into global programs with public–private partnerships. Currently, these programs use yearly mass application of drugs that mainly kill the larval stages (the microfilariae), with the aim of preventing uptake by the transmitting insect vectors and thus, to block transmission and reduce the infections to such levels that in 15–30 years from now, they will no longer pose a public health problem. While the programs have been very successful in general, there are drawbacks such as coverage being too low within the population, reappearance of infection by migration of infected people into controlled areas, targeting of a stage (the microfilaria) that does not induce pathology in LF and thus lowers compliance, and the potential development of drug resistance, first indications of which have been clearly observed in onchocerciasis.

In addition, even without drawbacks, program scopes are not the eradication of filarial infections, which is, however, an ultimate goal of control activities. There is therefore an unequivocal call for the development of higher efficient, complementary chemotherapeutical approaches that lead to a long-lasting reduction of the pathology-inducing worm stages; that is, microfilariae in onchocerciasis and adult worms in LF, or to a macrofilaricidal effect.

The recent discovery that depletion of Wolbachia endosymbionts by tetracycline antibiotics leads to long-lasting sterility of adult female worms in onchocerciasis and a macrofilaricidal effect in LF fulfils these requirements. Successful regimens have already been published and agreed upon for use by expert panels. While these regimens are still too long for mass application, the antiwolbachial chemotherapy can currently be applied in the form of a suitable doxycycline regimen for 6 weeks for the treatment of individuals, and exploited in the future for the development of new drugs suitable for mass application. In addition, first data suggest that Wolbachia may also be major mediators of lymphangiogenesis and that their depletion is associated with reduction of lymph vessel-specific vascular endothelial growth factors and reduced lymph vessel size. ...


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