Honours project only
Scabies and associated co-infections cause substantial illness and a major health burden in Indigenous communities of Northern Australia. In particular scabies-caused childhood pyoderma (bacterial skin infection) can cause severe complications in later life.
Scabies-associated Streptococcus infections for example, significantly contribute to an immune complication of streptococcal infection that leads to heart and kidney disease (rheumatic heart disease and post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis).
Recognising the health risk of scabies-associated pathogens, we have commenced dissecting the link between scabies and bacterial infections at a molecular level and we lead the international scabies microbiome program to define the impact of scabies on the healthy skin flora and examine the synergy between mites and bacteria.
Drug resistance is an emerging problem in controlling the mites (causing scabies) and the bacteria (causing secondary infections). Our current research program combines cutting-edge basic research and unique pre-clinical studies, to compare the efficacy of several new candidate drugs that kill all stages of the scabies parasite including eggs.
In this pilot project we will generate proof-of-principle data, to identify among our novel anti-scabies drug candidates those that will also prevent scabies associated pyoderma. Drug candidates with dual action against scabies and pyoderma will be particularly advantageous in the tropical north of Australia where scabies is inextricably linked to extremely high rates of pyoderma, chronic rheumatic heart and kidney diseases, invasive bacterial sepsis and where this disease complex represents a huge, persistent public health burden.