One Drug For Three Tropical Diseases: What Is It?

Aug 13, 2016 11:14 PM EDT

Chagas disease, leishmaniasis and sleeping sickness can be cured with a single drug that has been recently discovered. The finding of this new drug is a ray of hope to many millions in the most backward parts of the world.

The three diseases are all caused by very similar parasites, and so one drug might be able to be the solution to the problem. Though the medicines have affected many across the world, very few medicines have been discovered because funding for such drugs are always less.

"We found that these parasites harbor a common weakness. We hope to exploit this weakness to discover and develop a single class of drugs for all three diseases," said study researcher Frantisek Supek from the Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation, in a report by Tech Times

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On the 8th of August, Nature published a letter that stated that researchers reported a drug to cure the three threatening diseases. The three parasites infect nearly 20 million people and kill nearly 50,000 every year in some of the poorest places in the world. The few drugs that are available to treat the disease are toxic and are also quite expensive. They are mostly taken using intravenous drip. The method does not usually work in poor and backward places where the diseases are most common.

Sleeping sickness is a disease that is spread by the bite of a tsetse fly. Trypanosoma brucei parasite is what causes the disease. The disease is also known as Human African trypanosomiasis. Chagas disease is caused by a parasite called Trypansosoma cruzi parasite. It is also called America trypanosomiasis. The disease leishmaniasis is caused by the Leishmania parasites. The disease is spread by sandflies.

In order to spot the drug, researchers worked on nearly three million compounds. This was made by the pharmaceutical company Novartis.

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