Giardia lamblia is a protozoan parasite that causes widespread gastrointestinal illness. Drugs to treat giardiasis are limited, but efforts to discover new anti-giardial compounds are constrained by the lack of a facile system for cell culture and inhibitor testing. We achieved robust and reproducible growth of G. lamblia in 384-well tissue culture plates in a modified TYI-S-33 medium. A high throughput assay for the screening of potential anti-giardial compounds was developed utilizing the WB strain of G. lamblia and automated optical detection of parasites after growth with tested inhibitors. We screened a library of 1600 known bioactive molecules and identified 12 compounds that inhibited growth of G. lamblia at low- or sub-micromolar concentrations. Our high throughput assay should facilitate evaluation of available chemical libraries for novel drugs to treat giardiasis.
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