AbGenics has developed RNA interference (RNAi) vectors to target cohabiting geo helminth parasites in the gut. Probiotic Lactobacilli containing antiparasitic RNAi molecules colonize the gut and are consumed by the parasites during the feeding cycle. The Lactobacilli release the RNAi molecule on the parasite gut wherein vital parasitic enzymatic processes are disrupted resulting in death and clearance from the host.
The proof of concept has been established for hookworms. This project was funded by the Gates foundation.
The same platform can be used for targeting other economically important helminth parasites like roundworm, threadworm and pinworm.