Toward the Development of Safe Onchocerca Macrofilaricides
Fidelis Cho-Ngwa of the University of Buea in Cameroon will develop a small animal model to test the safety of candidate drugs for treating the parasitic disease onchocerciasis in people who are coinfected with the Loa loa parasite. Ivermectin, which is used in mass drug administration efforts to treat onchocerciasis, causes severe adverse effects, including death, in people who carry high levels of Loa loa. They will purify early-stage Loa loa from infected human blood and test the ability of a variety of small animal models, including mice, to sustain the parasites over 30 days, which would be enough time to perform an in vivo drug screen. Once a suitable small animal model has been identified and validated, it will be possible to screen large numbers of compounds to identify effective and safer treatments.