Cell phone-based microscope leads to possible strategy for treating river blindness

(NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases) River blindness, or onchocerciasis, is a disease caused by a parasitic worm (Onchocerca volvulus) found primarily in Africa. Ivermectin is used to treat onchocerciasis. This treatment can be fatal when a person has high blood levels of another worm, Loa loa. In a paper published in NEJM, scientists describe how a cell phone-based videomicroscope can provide fast, effective testing for L. loa parasites, allowing these individuals to be protected from the adverse effects of ivermectin.
Source: EurekAlert! - Infectious and Emerging Diseases - Category: Infectious Diseases Source Type: news

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Conclusions: Due to the complexity of the behavior and biology of cells, scientists' primary focus should be on detection and elimination of sources of inflammation. Antiparasitic medications, and also antiviral, antibiotic, and antifungal medications should be thought of as underrecognized, underappreciated, and forgotten medications that can be part of cancer therapy. The information offered in this review suggests scientists should think of cancer not only as a metabolic disease but also as a metabolic parasite and should consider using antiparasitic medications under a new understanding of the role of inflammation, inf...
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(NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases) Scientists have sequenced the genome of the parasitic worm responsible for causing onchocerciasis -- an eye and skin infection more commonly known as river blindness. Through their work, researchers have gained insight into the workings of the parasite and identified proteins that potentially could be targeted with existing drugs or provide areas for developing new treatments and a preventive vaccine. The NIAID-supported research is described in a pair of papers published this week in Nature Microbiology.
Source: EurekAlert! - Infectious and Emerging Diseases - Category: Infectious Diseases Source Type: news
Conclusion This study suggests a new smartphone-based approach could provide a quick way of measuring levels of infection with the Loa loa worm in blood samples, and with a high level of accuracy. This technique could allow assessment of people's infection in communities without easy access to the laboratory testing that is usually used to detect the worms. This is important, as people with high levels of this infection can suffer potentially fatal side effects with the drug ivermectin, which is used to treat two other parasitic infections. It's worth bearing in mind that this was a pilot study in only 33 people using a ...
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More News: African Health | Allergy | Allergy & Immunology | Blindness | Infectious Diseases | Opthalmology | Parasitic Diseases | Parasitology | River Blindness