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UCSF teams tackle childhood mortality and river blindness
Date:1/10/2013

ually found, he said.

Preschool children in Lietman's study will be randomized to receive either a cherry-flavored oral suspension of azithromycin or a placebo every six months for two years. If there is a significant reduction in mortality in the communities that receive the antibiotic, the study will be extended for another two years and all communities will receive antibiotics.

Lietman and his team will closely monitor for development of antibiotic resistant diseases in the communities treated with azithromycin. "It's a complicated question," he said. "We think we will select for antibiotic resistance. However, many of us believe that might be a price worth paying if there is truly a reduction in childhood mortality."

Lietman noted two mitigating factors with regard to antibiotic resistance. In communities treated with azithromycin for trachoma, resistance to the antibiotic gradually disappears over the two years after such treatments stop. In addition, he said, azithromycin belongs to a class of antibiotic that is rarely used in sub-Saharan Africa, so even if an infection is resistant to azithromycin, it could still be treatable by one of six other classes of antibiotics.

Finding New Drugs for Parasitic Disease

The goal of McKerrow's study is to find a drug that kills the adult form of the parasitic filarial worm, which is spread by a fly that breeds near fast-flowing rivers.

When the fly bites, it deposits larvae under the skin that grow into worms several inches long. The parasite associated with river blindness attacks the eye, while its relative that is responsible for lymphatic filariasis blocks the lymphatic channels in the groin, resulting in extreme swelling of the lower extremities.

McKerrow's research group will employ new software developed by UCSF research specialist Chris Marcellino that significantly speeds the screening of potential compounds. Conventional drug screening tec
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Contact: Kristen Bole
kristen.bole@ucsf.edu
415-502-6397
University of California - San Francisco
Source:Eurekalert  

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