Dennis Kyle, a professor of infectious diseases and cellular biology in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, was quoted in Chemical and Engineering News about parasitic worms.
The parasitic nematode worms responsible for diseases such as river blindness and elephantiasis currently infect more than 150 million people in tropical regions around the world. An academic-industry consortium has unveiled a preclinical drug candidate that could halt the parasites after a seven-day treatment. Current treatments only target immature larvae called microfilariae and leave adults free to reproduce, so long-term treatment programs are needed to clear the worms from patients. The new drug candidate targets a bacterium called Wolbachia that lives inside the worm and is essential for the parasite’s reproduction, although researchers have yet to figure out why.
“It looks like a much better option,” said Kyle, GRA Eminent Scholar in Antiparasitic Drug Discovery and director of UGA’s Center for Tropical and Emerging Global Diseases, who was not involved in the research. “This is very good news.”