Development of new treatments for Riverblindness

Development of new treatments for Riverblindness: Facilitated histological assessment of Onchocerca volvulus nodules to detect treatment effects on adult worms

Adult O. volvulus worms reside in subcutaneous nodules and can live up to 15 years. It requires special expert knowledge to differentiate natural morphological changes during its life span from changes induced by anti-filarial drugs after treatment. In collaboration with scientists from the University of Health and Allied Sciences (Hohoe, Ghana), the University of Ghana and the University of Bonn, Germany, DOLF scientists in St. Louis have set up a novel system to evaluate Onchocerca nodules after triple drug treatment with ivermectin, diethylcarbamazine and albendazole using high resolution virtual images. To reduce individual bias during the assessment, images are evaluated by two independent experts and the use of virtual sections does not require the physical shipment of valuable specimens from lab to lab. This advance will make it easy to provide primary research results to the research community involved in the study of macrofilaricidal drugs.    

A. For the IDA triple drug study several hundred of Onchocerca nodules were excised from patients and embedded in paraffin.
B. High resolution scans of two cross-sections of the same nodule stained by a conventional H&E stain or by an immunostain to differentiate life and dead worms.
C. Zoomed-in section of the immunostain showing a cross-section of a living female worm with embryogenesis.

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