Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Drug resistance of parasite which causes river blindness could lead to resurgence

15.06.2007
Development of drug resistance in the parasite which causes river blindness could lead to breakouts of the disease in communities where it has been brought under control, conclude authors of an Article published in this week’s edition of The Lancet.

River blindness (onchocerciasis) is caused by the filarial nematode Onchocerca volvulus, a parasite transmitted by Similium blackflies. Around 37 million people worldwide are suspected to be infected. Ivermectin, in the form of an annual dose, is the drug that has been widely used for river blindness (onchocerciasis) since 1987, and due to this long-term use a study into resistance to its effects is timely. Although invermectin does not kill substantial numbers of adult O. volvulus at standard doses, it prevents them releasing microfilariae and keeps skin counts of microfilariae low.

Professor Roger Prichard, Institute of Parasitology, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, and colleagues studied 2,501 people in 20 communities in Ghana, West Africa. Of these, 19 had been receiving between 6-18 annual doses of ivermectin, while one community had never been given ivermectin.

In the first phase of the study, all the participants were tested for levels of microfilarial load by taking 2mm skinsnips (skin samples) prior to their 2004 annual ivermectin dose, and 30 days after treatment to determine the effect of the ivermectin. For the second phase, skin snips were taken from 342 individuals from ten communities, who had tested positive at pre-treatment assessment, at 90 and 180 days after treatment.

The researchers found that microfilaria prevalence ranged from 2.2% to 51.8%, and community microfilarial load in treated communities ranged from 0.06-2.85 microfilariae per snip. Despite treatment, prevalence rate doubled in two communities between 2000 and 2005.

Although ivermectin clears 100% of microfilariae in 99% of those treated, 90 days later four of 10 communities had significant microfiliarae repopulation, ranging from 7-21% of pre-treatment counts. This rose to nearly 54% by day 180. In the other six communities studied, microfilariae repopulation was controlled as expected.

The authors conclude: “Ivermectin remains a potent microfilaricide. However, our results suggest that resistant adult parasite populations, which are not responding as expected to ivermectin, are emerging. A high rate of repopulation of skin with microfilariae will allow parasite transmission, possibly with ivermectin-resistant O. volvulus which could eventually lead to recrudescence of the disease.”

In an accompanying Comment, Dr Peter Hotez, President, Sabin Vaccine Institute and Department of Microbiology, Immunology, & Tropical Medicine, George Washington University, Washington, DC, USA, says there is a moral imperative to continue ivermectin treatment to control river blindness.

He says: “We need to anticipate the possibility of further ivermectin resistance and greatly increase our current level of effort and support to develop and test a new generation of control tools for onchocerciasis.”

He concludes: “Now is the time for global health leaders to build on the strengths of community-directed treatment with ivermectin, and advocate and support the development, testing, and distribution of a new generation of onchocerciasis-control tools.”

Tony Kirby | alfa
Further information:
http://www.thelancet.com/webfiles/images/clusters/thelancet/press_office/Onchocerca.pdf

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Rabies viruses reveal wiring in transparent brains
19.01.2017 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

nachricht On track to heal leukaemia
18.01.2017 | Universitätsspital Bern

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New Study Will Help Find the Best Locations for Thermal Power Stations in Iceland

19.01.2017 | Earth Sciences

Not of Divided Mind

19.01.2017 | Life Sciences

Molecule flash mob

19.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>