Research ArticlePARASITIC DISEASES

Discovery of short-course antiwolbachial quinazolines for elimination of filarial worm infections

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Science Translational Medicine  08 May 2019:
Vol. 11, Issue 491, eaav3523
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aav3523

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Walloping Wolbachia with quinazolines

A variety of adult parasitic worms depend on the bacterial endosymbiont Wolbachia for reproduction and survival, so Wolbachia is a clinical target for treating filarial nematodes. Antibiotics effective against Wolbachia require weeks of treatment and are not suitable for all patients. Bakowski et al. therefore performed a high-throughput phenotypic screen to look for alternative antiwolbachial compounds, which led them to quinazolines. Lead compounds were optimized and showed efficacy in multiple mouse filarial models, performing well or even better than 2 weeks of antibiotics. Their results suggest that a short course of quinazolines could eradicate Wolbachia, potentially eliminating adult worms in infected humans.