J Mendez reports for El Deber:
They presented a new drug against Chagas, was tested in Bolivia
– Chagas is called the evil of poverty
It’s called fexinidazole. The study was presented at a conference in Mexico. Bolivia’s 140 patients received six daily doses of the drug, which was recovered for treatments.
Chagas disease, a tropical disease caused by the bite of a parasite transmitor insect, Trypanosoma cruzi, affects eight million people in the world. Up to 100 million are at direct risk of contagion in Latin America, which makes this bad in the number one cause of infectious heart disease on the continent.
The Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi, for its acronym in English) has just launched a new drug study in phase II – with patients -, with fexinidazole, a compound that was not used for more than 30 years ago and has been recovered by DNDi for Chagas disease.
During the study, fexinidazole was administered in six daily doses as monotherapy to 140 Bolivian patients in chronic phase of the disease. This essay has aimed to determine whether at least one of the doses is safer and more effective than the placebo in eliminating the parasite that causes the infection.
Only two treatments
“We have greatly benefited from the project as it has given us the expertise needed to establish and promote this important clinical trial,” said Isabela Ribeiro, program director of DNDi against Chagas in the presentation of the study at the 13th International Congress in Parasitology (ICOPA, for its acronym in English), held in mid-August in Mexico City. According to Ribeiro, “these collaborative efforts bring us to a new level that will benefit patients with Chagas disease.”
Currently there are only two treatments, both with strong side effects: nifurtimox and benznidazole. The last one is still the best option available today. Only 1% of those affected have access to these drugs, “which highlights the urgent need to expand the scope and accelerate the development of new drugs,” according to notes from DNDi.
Prior to this study, scientists have tested with compounds such as E1224 and posaconazole, although they were not as effective, which provided strong evidence of the efficacy of benznidazole.
The challenge is to extend the treatment of patients with benznidazole and promote treatment strategies involving new drugs.