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Anti-Wolbachia drug discovery and development: safe macrofilaricides for onchocerciasis and lymphatic filariasis

  • MARK J. TAYLOR (a1), ACHIM HOERAUF (a2), SIMON TOWNSON (a3), BARTON E. SLATKO (a4) and STEPHEN A. WARD (a1)...

Summary

Anti-Wolbachia therapy delivers safe macrofilaricidal activity with superior therapeutic outcomes compared to all standard anti-filarial treatments, with the added benefit of substantial improvements in clinical pathology. These outcomes can be achieved, in principle, with existing registered drugs, e.g. doxycycline, that are affordable, available to endemic communities and have well known, albeit population-limiting, safety profiles. The key barriers to using doxycycline as an mass drug administration (MDA) strategy for widespread community-based control are the logistics of a relatively lengthy course of treatment (4–6 weeks) and contraindications in children under eight years and pregnancy. Therefore, the primary goal of the anti-Wolbachia (A·WOL) consortium is to find drugs and regimens that reduce the period of treatment from weeks to days (7 days or less), and to find drugs which would be safe in excluded target populations (pregnancy and children). A secondary goal is to refine regimens of existing antibiotics suitable for a more restricted use, prior to the availability of a regimen that is compatible with MDA usage. For example, for use in the event of the emergence of drug-resistance, in individuals with high loiasis co-infection and at risk of severe adverse events (SAE) to ivermectin, or in post-MDA ‘endgame scenarios’, where test and treat strategies become more cost effective and deliverable.

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The online version of this article is published within an Open Access environment subject to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution licence .

Corresponding author

*Corresponding author: Head of Parasitology Department, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Liverpool, L3 5QA, UK. Tel: 0044 (0)151 705 3112. Fax: 0044 (0)151 705 3371. E-mail: mark.taylor@liv.ac.uk

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