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Switzerland

Help May Be On The Way For “Sleeping Sickness” Sufferers

An NGO in Geneva, Swizerland is working on a drug to treat to African trypanosomiasis, better known as “sleeping sickness.” If approved, the medication would be available in pill form. Sleeping sickness patients must currently received painful injections.

Sleeping sickness is transmitted by tsetse flies
Sleeping sickness is transmitted by tsetse flies

Worldcrunch NEWS BITES

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

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Society

Colombia Celebrates Its Beloved Drug For The Ages, Coffee

This essential morning drink for millions worldwide was once considered an addictive menace, earning itself a ban on pain of death in the Islamic world.

Colombia's star product: coffee beans.

Julián López de Mesa Samudio

-Essay-

BOGOTÁ — October 1st is International Coffee Day. Recently it seems as if every day of the calendar year commemorates something — but for Colombia, coffee is indeed special.

For almost a century now we have largely tied our national destiny, culture and image abroad to this drink. Indeed it isn't just Colombia's star product, it became through the course of the 20th century the world's favorite beverage — and the most commonly used drug to boost work output.

Precisely for its stimulating qualities — and for being a mild drug — coffee was not always celebrated, and its history is peppered with the kinds of bans, restrictions and penalties imposed on the 'evil' drugs of today.

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