Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers reach milestone in fight against lymphatic filariasis

05.12.2002


Four annual mass treatments of single doses of safe and inexpensive drugs found effective



Researchers report in the December 5 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine reaching an important milestone in learning how to halt a major mosquito-borne disease affecting 120 million people around the world. The disease, called lymphatic filariasis and commonly known as elephantiasis, is a leading cause of physical disfigurement, social ostracism, and economic loss throughout Africa, Asia, South America, and islands of the Pacific Ocean. The disease can lead to dramatically swollen and disfigured legs, arms, breasts, and genitals.

Treating 2500 residents in a remote area of Papua New Guinea in the South Pacific, the researchers from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, University Hospitals of Cleveland, and Papua New Guinea Institute of Medical Research found dramatic results with four annual mass treatments of single doses of safe and inexpensive anti-filarial (anti-worm) drugs. There was a greater than 95 percent decrease in mosquito transmission, nearly complete prevention of new infections in children, reduction of infection rates in the communities to less than one percent, and remarkably, cure of severe disease manifestations such as extremely enlarged arms and legs, and genital disfigurement. Combined with conclusions drawn from mathematical analysis of the interrelationships between the potentials of mosquito transmission and human infection, the report clearly sets the precedent that annual mass treatment with safe and inexpensive medications can go a long way toward eliminating this devastating disease.


James W. Kazura, M.D., the paper’s senior author, notes that this work represents an important milestone in the world-wide effort to combat filariasis. "Until this study, it was not clear that eradication and significant decreases in mosquito-borne transmission and disease severity could be realized even on a small scale." Kazura is a professor of medicine at CWRU and UHC.

Lymphatic filariasis is caused by microscopic juvenile parasitic worms that are transmitted to humans by mosquitoes containing these infective parasites. The juvenile parasites migrate from the site of the mosquito bite and ultimately develop into adult worms in the lymphatic system of the human host, where they cause the hallmark inflammation of filariasis. In many rural areas of Papua New Guinea, Africa, and India, nearly 10 percent of persons suffer from elephantiasis by adulthood, and large numbers of men develop such swelling of the scrotum that it can reach the size of a grapefruit. Transmission is continued in nature when the microscopic offspring of adult worms, called microfilariae, circulate in the bloodstream and are subsequently ingested by blood-feeding mosquitoes. After further development in the mosquito, the parasites are capable of infecting humans when the insect takes its next blood meal.

Building on more than 20 years of research and clinical investigations on filariasis, the project was conducted in Papua New Guinea, where transmission of filariasis and other serious infectious diseases such as malaria reach the highest levels seen anywhere in the world.

"Performance of a study in this setting to determine whether inexpensive and safe medications could decrease transmission of filariasis and control its clinical outcomes represents an extraordinarily tough test or ’proof of principle’ of the Global Plan to Eradicate Lymphatic Filariasis," says Kazura. "This plan, officially launched by the World Health Assembly in Geneva in 1997, states that filariasis is one of six diseases that is potentially eradicable. The target date to achieve this goal at a global level has been set at 2020. With support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and other non-governmental philanthropic organizations, administration by the Global Alliance through the Carter Center in Atlanta and World Health Organization, and donation of anti-filarial drugs by GlaxoSmithKline and Merck Pharmaceuticals, the infrastructure to implement the control plan in Africa, Latin America, Asia, and Pacific island nations has been growing over the past several years.

"This study provides essential guidelines to control this infectious disease and points the way to the ultimate eradication of filariasis on a global level," says Kazura.

"The work also poses interesting and challenging new research questions that should enable the testing of new hypotheses on how genetics and immunity determine infection susceptibility in humans and contribute to the development and ultimately prevention of lymphatic disease," he says.

An accompanying editorial written by Eric A. Ottesen, M.D., of Emory University, says this study has yielded important conclusions. "It should serve as a touchstone for future evaluations of other programs, both inside and outside the research community," it states.

George Stamatis | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.cwru.edu/

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Unique brain 'fingerprint' can predict drug effectiveness
11.07.2018 | McGill University

nachricht Direct conversion of non-neuronal cells into nerve cells
03.07.2018 | Universitätsmedizin der Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

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: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

Im Focus: Chemical reactions in the light of ultrashort X-ray pulses from free-electron lasers

Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.

Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Subaru Telescope helps pinpoint origin of ultra-high energy neutrino

16.07.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Barium ruthenate: A high-yield, easy-to-handle perovskite catalyst for the oxidation of sulfides

16.07.2018 | Life Sciences

New research calculates capacity of North American forests to sequester carbon

16.07.2018 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>