A·WOL compared various drugs for their efficacy against onchocerciasis in a randomized, open-label, pilot trial

Press release 6 Jan 2017
Fig 2. Histological analysis of endobacteria content and worm age.

This week, scientists from the A·WOL Consortium published a paper entitled: Comparison of Doxycycline, Minocycline, Doxycycline plus Albendazole and Albendazole Alone in Their Efficacy against Onchocerciasis in a Randomized, Open-Label, Pilot Trial in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases. The study explored the development of a shorter treatment regimen, resulting in adult filarial worm death (macrofilaricidal), by using anti-Wolbachia drugs and combinations with a standard anti-filarial drug.

Previously published findings by the authors have shown that a 4 week course of doxycycline depletes Wolbachia populations in onchocerciasis and leads to long-term sterilization and a macrofilaricidal effect, whereas a 3 week course of doxycycline delivers sub-optimal effects.

The data in this current publication, in addition to supporting previous findings, has shown that combinations of a shorter doxycycline treatment (3 weeks) with the anti-filarial drug albendazole (3 day treatment) showed increased efficacy against onchocerciasis when compared to 3 weeks of doxycycline alone. Demonstrating that albendazole has additive effects when used in combination with doxycycline.

Interestingly, a 3 week treatment of minocycline alone showed a trend towards stronger efficacy than a 3 week treatment of doxycycline alone, suggesting that minocycline is more efficacious than doxycycline.

This study presents preliminary evidence which warrants further development of anti-Wolbachia and anti-filarial drug combinations in order to improve treatment options to provide alternative strategies and reach the goal of onchocerciasis elimination

Comparison of Doxycycline, Minocycline, Doxycycline plus Albendazole and Albendazole Alone in Their Efficacy against Onchocerciasis in a Randomized, Open-Label, Pilot Trial 
Ute Klarmann-Schulz , Sabine Specht , Alexander Yaw Debrah , Linda Batsa, Nana Kwame Ayisi-Boateng, Jubin Osei-Mensah, Yusif Mubarik, Peter Konadu, Arcangelo Ricchiuto, Rolf Fimmers, Sandra Arriens, Bettina Dubben, Louise Ford, Mark Taylor, Achim Hoerauf
Published: January 5, 2017