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Elimination of filariasis requires a macrofilaricide treatment that can be delivered within a 7-day period. Here we have identified a synergy between the anthelmintic albendazole (ABZ) and drugs depleting the filarial endosymbiont Wolbachia, a proven macrofilaricide target, which reduces treatment from several weeks to 7 days in preclinical models. ABZ had negligible effects on Wolbachia but synergized with minocycline or rifampicin (RIF) to deplete symbionts, block embryogenesis, and stop microfilariae production. Greater than 99% Wolbachia depletion following 7-day combination of RIF+ABZ also led to accelerated macrofilaricidal activity. Thus, we provide preclinical proof-of-concept of treatment shortening using antibiotic+ABZ combinations to deliver anti-Wolbachia sterilizing and macrofilaricidal effects. Our data are of immediate public health importance as RIF+ABZ are registered drugs and thus immediately implementable to deliver a 1-wk macrofilaricide. They also suggest that novel, more potent anti-Wolbachia drugs under development may be capable of delivering further treatment shortening, to days rather than weeks, if combined with benzimidazoles.

Original publication

DOI

10.1073/pnas.1710845114

Type

Journal article

Journal

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

Publisher

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

Publication Date

07/11/2017

Volume

114

Pages

E9712 - E9721