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A Geneva-based NGO called the Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative (DNDi) is developing a simplified treatment for African trypanosomiasis, also known as the sleeping sickness.
This disease, which is transmitted by tsetse flies and is present in 36 countries of the sub-Saharan region, affects around 30,000 new people every year. It is deadly if not treated.
Four years ago, the pharmaceutical company Anacor gave the DNDi two therapeutic molecules for testing. One of the molecules, the SCY-7158, has just passed pre-clinical trails. Its toxicity on humans is about to be evaluated. The new molecule seems to work so far on mammals, which are cured after seven days of treatment.
Up to now, the treatment of the disease has been very inconvenient for patients, who can only receive medication during the second phase of the illness when the bacteria, after invading the blood of the infected person, finally reaches the nervous system. The patients have to go to a treatment center twice per day to receive injections of two different drugs.
The new treatment, which patients could be receiving as soon as the illness is detected, would be available in pills and would more easily reach remote areas.
Read the French language original article (subscription required) by Caroline Depecker
Photo - DavidDennisPhotos