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A single antibiotic pill is just as effective a treatment as a shot of penicillin against yaws. A study published in the Lancet that looked at 250 patients found oral azithromycin to be an equivalent treatment against the infection. This could represent a major step in eradicating the disease because pills do not need a medical professional or equipment to be administered. Continue reading
A drug which has been used to target numerous infectious diseases has been successful in limiting the impact of visceral leishmaniasis (VL) too.
Fexinidazole has been used for over 30 years and studies are being conducted to ascertain its effect on sleeping sickness. The parasites that cause sleeping sickness and VL are closely related, so researchers at the University of Dundee decided to see whether the drug could also work against VL too.
VL is an infectious disease caused by a parasite that is transmitted by the bite of an infected sandfly. After malaria, it is the biggest killer in many parts of Africa, Asia and Latin America. Estimates put 50,000 killed every year but WHO say this is a huge underestimate as many cases are never recorded. 1.5-2 million new cases occur annually even though only around 600,000 are declared, the WHO have said.
If left untreated, VL can have a fatality rate as high as 100% within two years. Safer and more effective oral drugs are required to treat this parasitic disease as current drug treatments are expensive, lead to harmful side effects and mostly given by injection, which is unsuitable in poor rural areas where VL strikes.
Buruli ulcer has horrifying effects. The Mycobacterium ulcerans pathogen eats away skin and occasionally bone, causing huge, bloody lesions on the arms and legs.
Lymphatic filariasis is equally shocking, though less stomach churning. In women, long-term infection leaves sufferers legs swollen with fluid; in men, fluid often gathers in the testes, swelling them to many times their normal size. Continue reading