DNDi congratulates team of researchers at University Hospital Bonn, which has received the Memento Research Award 2015 for their commitment against neglected diseases

The Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative congratulates the team of researchers at the University of Bonn-Hospital for the Memento Research Award 2015. The research group of Prof. Achim Hörauf from the University of Bonn has received this prize awarded by a group of NGOs for their research into the development of  a therapy for the neglected disease `lymphatic filariasis`.

The research group of Prof. Hörauf has managed to develop an innovative and effective therapeutic approach against lymphatic filariasis. The approach based an antibiotic-based therapy and improved diagnostics shows promising results in defeating filariais and preventing the painful and disfiguring symptoms of elephantiasis.

“We are delighted that one of our German research partners has received this award. Their approach has made an important contribution and we will follow the study with interest in the hunt to find and develop new and adapted treatments for filarial diseases including co-infections of various worm based diseases”, says Ivan Scandale, Project Manager at DNDi, who works with the research team.

DNDi has been carrying out research for several years with various partners on new therapies against worm based diseases. The research team from Bonn has been supporting DNDi in the development of a new therapy against river blindness.

Notes for journalists

The four NGOs BUKO Pharma-Kampagne, the DAHW Deutsche Lepra- und Tuberkulosehilfe e.V., Brot für die Welt and Ärzte ohne Grenzen e.V. united to award the  Memento Prize for neglected diseases. Since 2014 the prize is awarded for special engagement for the fight against neglected diseases. The award aims at raising awareness for activities and research on these diseases. http://www.memento-preis.de

About Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi)
The Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) is a not-for-profit research and development (R&D) organization working to deliver new treatments for the most neglected diseases, in particular sleeping sickness (human African trypanosomiasis), Chagas disease, leishmaniasis, filaria, and paediatric HIV/AIDS. Since its inception in 2003, DNDi has delivered six new treatments: two fixed-dose antimalarials (ASAQ and ASMQ); nifurtimox-eflornithine combination therapy (NECT) for late-stage sleeping sickness; sodium stibogluconate and paromomycin (SSG&PM) combination therapy for visceral leishmaniasis in Africa; a set of combination therapies for visceral leishmaniasis in Asia; and a paediatric dosage form of benznidazole for Chagas disease. www.dndi.org

About river blindness (onchocerciasis)
Onchocerciasis, also known as river blindness, is endemic in 36 countries in Africa, the Arabian Peninsula and the Americas. It affects over 25 million worldwide, over 6 million of which suffer debilitating symptoms and some 270,000 afflicted with blindness. The disease hinders economic development in areas where it occurs. Fear of infection through the bite of the blackfly vector leads to abandonment of fertile riverside areas where it abounds. The adult parasitic worm can live for up to 15 years in the human body. The female adults produce millions of microfilariae that trigger serious visual impairment (including blindness), lesions, and intense itching and depigmentation of the skin. Female blackflies ingest microfilariae if they bite an infected person. Some of the microfilariae may transform into infective larvae and may be injected into another person through the same blackfly, where the parasites complete their life cycle.