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 Deep stimulation improves cognitive control by augmenting brain rhythms
04.04.2019 | Picower Institute at MIT

nachricht Black nanoparticles slow the growth of tumors
04.04.2019 | Technische Universität München

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: Explosion on Jupiter-sized star 10 times more powerful than ever seen on our sun

A stellar flare 10 times more powerful than anything seen on our sun has burst from an ultracool star almost the same size as Jupiter

  • Coolest and smallest star to produce a superflare found
  • Star is a tenth of the radius of our Sun
  • Researchers led by University of Warwick could only see...

Im Focus: Quantum simulation more stable than expected

A localization phenomenon boosts the accuracy of solving quantum many-body problems with quantum computers which are otherwise challenging for conventional computers. This brings such digital quantum simulation within reach on quantum devices available today.

Quantum computers promise to solve certain computational problems exponentially faster than any classical machine. “A particularly promising application is the...

Im Focus: Largest, fastest array of microscopic 'traffic cops' for optical communications

The technology could revolutionize how information travels through data centers and artificial intelligence networks

Engineers at the University of California, Berkeley have built a new photonic switch that can control the direction of light passing through optical fibers...

Im Focus: A long-distance relationship in femtoseconds

Physicists observe how electron-hole pairs drift apart at ultrafast speed, but still remain strongly bound.

Modern electronics relies on ultrafast charge motion on ever shorter length scales. Physicists from Regensburg and Gothenburg have now succeeded in resolving a...

Im Focus: Researchers 3D print metamaterials with novel optical properties

Engineers create novel optical devices, including a moth eye-inspired omnidirectional microwave antenna

A team of engineers at Tufts University has developed a series of 3D printed metamaterials with unique microwave or optical properties that go beyond what is...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Revered mathematicians and computer scientists converge with 200 young researchers in Heidelberg!

17.04.2019 | Event News

First dust conference in the Central Asian part of the earth’s dust belt

15.04.2019 | Event News

Fraunhofer FHR at the IEEE Radar Conference 2019 in Boston, USA

09.04.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

New automated biological-sample analysis systems to accelerate disease detection

18.04.2019 | Life Sciences

Explosion on Jupiter-sized star 10 times more powerful than ever seen on our sun

18.04.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

New eDNA technology used to quickly assess coral reefs

18.04.2019 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>