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Scientists Discover How New Drug Kills Roundworms

A PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases study found how a new drug developed by scientists in China effectively kills roundworms – “a parasite that lurks in the intestines and which affects nearly two billion people in tropical countries,” Reuters reports. “Roundworms are particularly harmful to children and pregnant women,” Reuters writes. “Apart from causing malnutrition and developmental problems in children, the parasite can cause blindness if it enters the eye. Repeated infections can also bring about swelling of the organs and the central nervous system.”

The findings of the study may help offer an alternative to the current roundworm treatment albendazole – a drug that roundworms have started to develop resistance to, according to Reuters (Lyn, 8/11). As part of the study, researchers analyzed the way that the drug tribendimidine kills the roundworm parasite, according to a University of California at San Diego/EurekAlert press release. Tribendimidine “has not yet been approved for human use” but has shown success at killing “some roundworm parasites, such as hookworms” in clinical trials in Africa and China (8/10).

The results led the scientists to conclude tribendimidine “could be effectively used in areas where parasites are likely to or have already developed a resistance to albendazole,” ANI/Sindh Today reports (8/11).