1. One drug is ‘new hope’ for three killer infections
One drug can treat three deadly and neglected infections – Chagas disease, leishmaniasis and sleeping sickness – animal studies show.
It has been described as a “new hope” for tackling the parasitic infections which affect millions of people in the poorest parts of the world. The discovery, reported in the journal Nature, was made by testing three million compounds. The new drug is now entering safety tests before human trials. The three diseases are all caused by similar parasites, leading scientists to believe one therapy might be useful against the trio. Combined, the three parasites infect 20 million people and kill 50,000 each year, the research team said. The researchers tested three million compounds, made by the pharmaceutical company Novartis, to find those that could kill multiple parasites in the laboratory.One was then used as the basis of thousands of modifications to make the original 20 times more potent. Tests then showed the upgrade – codenamed GNF6702 – could treat Trypanosoma brucei, Trypansosoma cruzi and Leishmania infections in mice. Dr Elmarie Myburgh, one of the researchers based at the University of York, told the BBC News website.