Episode 1

Advancements in Babesia Research and Clinical Implications

In this conversation, Dr. Choukri Ben Mamoun and Dr. Tim Sellati discuss Dr. Mamoun’s recent study on combination therapy for Babesia infection. They explore key findings such as the use of immunocompromised mouse models and potential for lasting immunity. The conversation touches on challenges in translating research to clinical practice, emphasizing the importance of understanding tick-borne infections and the need for more research on dosing and drug efficacy.

About This Episode

In this conversation, I’m joined by Dr. Choukri Ben Mamoun and Dr. Tim Sellati to discuss Dr. Ben Mamoun’s recent study on the use of combination therapy for the treatment of Babesia infection entitled: Tafenoquine-Atovaquone Combination Achieves Radical Cure and Confers Sterile Immunity in Experimental Models of Human Babesiosis. 

We explore the key findings of the study, including the use of immunocompromised mouse models and the potential for long-lasting immunity. The conversation also delves into the importance of understanding the differences between tick-borne infections and the challenges of translating research findings into clinical practice. The discussion highlights the need for further research on dosing and the therapeutic index of different drugs.

Overall, the conversation provides valuable insights into the current understanding of Babesia treatment and the potential for future advancements. The conversation covers topics such as combination therapy and resistance, dormant parasites and relapse, terminology and immunocompromised, immune dysregulation and cold exposure, diagnostic testing for Babesia, improving diagnostic testing, and the goal of helping patients. 

Key Takeaways

  • Combination therapy with tafenoquine and atovaquone has shown promising results in the treatment of Babesia infection.
  • Immunocompromised mouse models are valuable tools for studying the efficacy of different treatments.
  • Understanding the differences between tick-borne infections is crucial for accurate diagnosis and treatment.
  • Further research is needed to determine optimal dosing and the therapeutic index of different drugs for Babesia treatment.
  • Recrudescence and treatment failure are important considerations in Babesia treatment. 
  • Combination therapy can reduce the probability of resistance in parasites.
  • Dormant parasites may be responsible for relapse in Babesia infections.
  • The terminology used in scientific research may differ from the general public’s understanding.
  • Factors like sleep, stress, and nutrition can contribute to immunocompromised states.
  • Diagnostic testing for Babesia needs improvement to reduce false negatives and false positives.
  • The ultimate goal is to help patients get better by finding the right diagnosis and treatment.
  • There is a need for collaboration between clinicians, researchers, and patients to advance the understanding and treatment of tick-borne infections.


00:00 Introduction and Overview
03:00 The Study and Key Findings
06:35 Understanding the Research and Clinical Implications
11:56 The Importance of Animal Models
14:43 Immunocompromised Mouse Models
23:22 Differences Between Tick-Borne Infections
26:34 Combination Therapy: Tafenoquine and Atovaquone
32:26 Dosing and Therapeutic Index
36:48 Artemisinin as a Treatment Option
46:20 Recrudescence and Treatment Failure
48:23 Combination Therapy and Resistance
50:24 Dormant Parasites and Relapse
53:18 Terminology and Immunocompromised
56:15 Immune Dysregulation and Cold Exposure
59:14 Diagnostic Testing for Babesia
01:03:22 Improving Diagnostic Testing
01:12:12 The Goal of Helping Patients
01:20:22 Caring and Finding the Truth