Therapeutics for Giardia Lamblia Infections

Categories: “Viruses, Chronic & Infectious Diseases

Reference #: 2009-016

OTC Contact: Tracy L. Bruehs, M.S., J.D., Associate Director (Directory Information | Send a Message)


Georgetown University is seeking a partner interested in the development and commercialization of drugs for treating Giardia lamblia. Researchers have discovered compounds that are effective for treating giardiasis, which afflicts 2.5 million humans in the United States annually in addition to pets and livestock. Symptoms of giardiasis include weight loss, malaise, diarrhea and other gastrointestinal symptoms. Studies have shown that the newly identified compounds prevent Giardia pathogenesis at low concentrations, while not affecting host cell viability at much higher concentration. The drug compounds indentified by this research potentially fill an unmet need, because currently there are no anti-giardiasis therapies approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.


This technology encompasses the use of small molecule compounds for the treatment and prevention of giardiasis in mammals, including humans, livestock and pets.


  • These compounds offer an alternative to the most common giardiasis treatments, metronidazole and tinidazole, which are only 90% effective, show high recurrence rates, are not FDA approved for giardiasis and can not be used during pregnancy.
  • New drugs for treating giardiasis are needed. Multidrug resistant Giardia is observed in as many as 20% of infections using current treatments.

Stage of Development

A high throughput assay was developed to measure Giardia attachment response in approximately 2000 compounds. Drugs identified in the primary screening were further evaluated for host cell viability using an IEC-6 rat intestinal cell line. Effective compounds significantly inhibited Giardia attachment at low concentrations (5μM – 1μM), while minimally affecting host cell viability at a much higher concentration (50μM).

Relevant Publications

No references or resources available.

Patent Status

Patents are currently pending