New Drug Being Tested to Fight Tropical Chagas Disease

CARACAS, Venezula-Researchers at the Venezuela Institute for Scientific Research have recently reported in the journal Science, they have made significant strides in developing a drug to treat tropical Chagas disease.

The South American form of Trypanosomiasis, Trypansoma cruzi, reportedly kills 50,000 people annually. The parasitic infection is spread through cockroach-sized insects that live in the walls and roofs of buildings. When they defecate, the waste lands on sleeping people below. The parasite enters through the skin. Children can also be infected at birth and via nursing. People can also receive contaminate blood containing the parasite.

While the scope of the bug's reach has been significantly limited after South American government sponsored insecticide spraying of building and new blood testing methods. However, the infections persist.

Researchers working with a variety of drugs have tried to find a method of killing the parasite before it is able to burrow into the heart and intestine. They have been close in finding an effective treatment in antifungal drugs, but have produce incredible results with an anticholesterol drug manufactured by AstraZeneca.

The drug blocks ergosterol synthesis in trypansomes, which significantly reduces the number of amastigote parasites that infect the human heart and intestinal tissue.

The specific drug wasn't mentioned in the literature, however the compound responsible for both aiding in cholesterol and reducing the parasitic count is called BPQ.

Information from the journal Science

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