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Scripps Research scientists develop novel test that identifies river blindness
Date:10/6/2010

s. Application of these biomarkers to an additional sample set from onchocerciasis endemic areas where long-term ivermectin treatment has been successful revealed that the biomarkers could distinguish individuals with worms of compromised viability from those with active infection.

"Ultimately this technology can be expanded for the diagnosis of other filarial and neglected tropical diseases," Janda said.

Passion for Fighting Disease

The impetus for helping in the fight to eradicate river blindness came from entrepreneur and philanthropist John Moores. Moores is the founder of the River Blindness Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to research and treatment of onchocerciasis, and the Worm Institute for Research and Medicine at Scripps Researchwhich funded the current study with the Skaggs Institute.

"Mr. Moores conveyed his passion for fighting this disease to WIRM here at Scripps," Dickerson said. "Now, we have a tool that helps face up to one of the major challenges of medicine for this century -- true elimination and eradication of infectious disease. Not just treatment, but true eradication. In order to be able to do this we must be able to know for certain whether a disease is no longer present; only then can we declare victory."

The scientists hope to develop a diagnostic kit that can be used in the field to test for onchocerciasis and other parasitic diseases.


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Contact: Mika Ono
mikaono@scripps.edu
858-784-2052
Scripps Research Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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