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Researchers discover potential treatment for Chagas disease

Friday, September 9, 2022 - 10:12am
By:
Leigh Beeson

Researchers from the University of Georgia have discovered a potential treatment for Chagas disease, marking the first medication with promise to successfully and safely target the parasitic infection in more than 50 years.

Human clinical trials of the drug, an antiparasitic compound known as AN15368, will hopefully begin in the next few years.

“I’m very optimistic,” said Rick Tarleton, corresponding author of the study and a UGA Athletic Association Distinguished Professor in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. “I think it has a really strong chance of being a real solution, not just a stand-in for something that works better than the drugs we currently have.”

The new drug works by targeting the parasite that causes the disease, Trypanosoma cruzi, also known as T. cruzi.

Nearly all people infected with the parasite experience flu-like symptoms such as fever, headaches and vomiting. However, after their immune response kicks in, their symptoms may subside.

But for 30% to 40% of patients, the infection can result in severe heart damage that can be both debilitating and life-threatening.

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