Key to anti-parasitic drug found


U.S. researchers say they’ve discovered how an anti-parasitic drug kills the worms involved in two major tropical diseases, river blindness and elephantiasis.

After decades of research and nearly half a billion treatments in humans, a Michigan State University researcher has helped unlock how the drug Ivermectin works, offering the possibility of more treatments for the two diseases that afflict about 140 million people worldwide, particularly in equatorial Africa, a university release said.

“Ivermectin is one of the most important veterinary and human anti-parasitic agents ever,” Charles Mackenzie, a professor of veterinary pathology in the MSU College of Veterinary Medicine, said. “Knowing specifically how it interacts with the body’s own immune system and kills parasitic worms opens up whole new treatment avenues.”

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