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Making Chagas disease drug widely accessible to children: WHO and Mundo Sano Foundation

Kissing bugs are the vector of Chagas disease Image/Rachel Curtis--Hamer Labs

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Mundo Sano Foundation are working to make an essential antiparasitic medicine for treatment of Chagas disease widely accessible to children. Treatment with benznidazole in the early stages of infection can cure the Chagas disease, but currently very few people are able to access diagnosis and treatment services.

The Triatoma or “kissing” bug.

We are working to enhance access to this medicine to people who need it the most,” said Silvia Gold, President of Mundo Sano Foundation. “We are proud to have Insud Pharma as a reliable industrial partner capable of expanding quality-assured affordable benznidazole. Our hope is to transform the dynamic of access to treatment for Chagas disease patients throughout the Americas and beyond..”

Benznidazole is commonly used as a first-line treatment for Chagas disease. Although it has existed for more than 40 years, it was not registered by any of the world’s regulatory agencies. It was only in August 2017 that the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved benznidazole for the treatment of children aged 2–12, making it the first treatment approved in the United States for Chagas disease.

The cure rate for Chagas disease is almost 100% if treatment occurs early after infection, particularly in the early years of life,” said Dr Pedro Albajar Vinas, Medical Officer with WHO’s Department of Control of Neglected Tropical Diseases. “For cases in children born from infected mothers – as high as 15 000 new cases per year – a pediatric presentation with improved dosing accuracy will greatly help in the treatment of congenital infections.”.

Read more at WHO

LISTEN: A look at the neglected tropical disease, Chagas disease