A drug being tested to treat African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness) shows promise in preclinical trials against visceral leishmaniasis, report Scottish researchers (Wyllie S et al. Sci Transl Med. 2012;4:119re1).
Fexinidazole has been found safe in early clinical trials for African sleeping sickness, a disease caused by the parasite Trypanosoma brucei. Because visceral leishmaniasis is caused by a closely related protozoan parasite, Leishmania donovani, and current treatments for visceral leishmaniasis are less than ideal, scientists tested fexinidazole against leishmaniasis. They gave a daily oral dose of the compound for 5 days to leishmaniasis-infected mice and observed almost complete suppression of infection.
Friedrich MJ. Promising Leishmaniasis Drug. JAMA. 2012;307(11):1129. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.295