Albendazole and antibiotics synergize to deliver short-course anti-Wolbachia curative treatments in preclinical models of filariasis
Turner JD., Sharma R., Al Jayoussi G., Tyrer HE., Gamble J., Hayward L., Priestley RS., Murphy EA., Davies J., Waterhouse D., Cook DAN., Clare RH., Cassidy A., Steven A., Johnston KL., McCall J., Ford L., Hemingway J., Ward SA., Taylor MJ.
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.