One new treatment can now cure three overlooked tropical diseases that kill thousand every year.
Chagas disease is also known as America trypanosomiasis and causes an enlargement of the digestive system and the heart which most of the times are fatal. Originally found in Latin America, cases of this disease have been discovered in other parts of the world.
The sleeping sickness, also known as Human African trypanosomiasis is transmitted by tsetse flies. The disease which is found in the sub-Saharan Africa can cause coma when the parasite enters the brain. The parasite enters the nervous system and causes mental deterioration. Early symptoms include anemia and joint pains, headache, while later, the disease leads to neurological and hormonal problems. Untreated, the disease rapidly causes the death of the patient.
Leishmaniasis is dispersed through the bite of sandflies that carry the Leishmania parasite. Its symptoms vary from fever and anemia, throat and mouth linings to other infections that can cause the nose’s destruction. This disease is usually encountered in Africa and Asia. About 2 million cases of Leishmaniasis are known to affect 90 countries worldwide each year.
Some drugs can separately treat these three tropical diseases but they are toxic, highly expensive, and they are supposed to be administrated intravenous which is not common in underdeveloped countries.
Novartis, a medical company, conducted multiple trials using three million compounds to learn which ones could kill more parasites. They managed to discover one compound that suffered various modifications to make it 20 times more efficient. The new compound, codenamed GF6702, was tested on mice and proved highly effective against the parasites responsible for the three neglected diseases that kill thousands each year.
Although the mice tolerated the drug well, scientists believe that the new drug should be first tested for toxicity before starting trials on humans. Finding a treatment for a disease that affects the brain is difficult, but this mice-tested drug is considered to be a breakthrough.
Researchers from the University of York say that this compound is unique because it targets all three parasites.
The proteasomes in the parasites which recycle waste protein are assaulted by this new drug and this is what distinguishes it from other remedies.
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