Weak link found in metabolism of deadly parasite
Computer search for miracle drug against sleeping sickness
No good treatment for sleeping sickness
In sub-Saharan Africa, an estimated 66 million people suffer from
a sleeping sickness called Trypanosomiasis. Although there is a
known cause, this disease is difficult to treat because the affecting
parasite, Trypanosoma brucei (seen swimming amidst blood cells), is immune to most antibiotics and
therefore remarkably resourceful in evading the immune system.
While the early stages of the disease are treatable by effective drugs,
the standard treatment for the later stages is a derivative of arsenic
— that's right, arsenic — with horrific side effects.
Arsenic has become the standard, not because it's good, but
because it is just about the only treatment known.
Clearly we need something better.
Picture courtesy of
Center for Disease Control Parasite Image Library