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      Management of trypanosomiasis and leishmaniasis


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          The current treatments for human African trypanosomiasis (HAT), Chagas disease and leishmaniasis (collectively referred to as the kinetoplastid diseases) are far from ideal but, for some, there has been significant recent progress. For HAT the only advances in treatment over the past two decades have been the introduction of an eflornithine/nifurtimox co-administration and a shorter regime of the old standard melarsoprol.

          Sources of data


          Areas of Agreement

          There is a need for new safe, oral drugs for cost-effective treatment of patients and use in control programmes for all the trypanosomatid diseases.

          Areas of controversy

          Cutaneous leishmaniasis is not on the agenda and treatments are lagging behind.

          Growing points

          There are three compounds in development for the treatment of the CNS stage of HAT: fexinidazole, currently due to entry into phase II clinical studies, a benzoxaborole (SCYX-7158) in phase I trials and a diamidine derivative (CPD-0802), in advanced pre-clinical development. For Chagas disease, two anti-fungal triazoles are now in clinical trial. In addition, clinical studies with benznidazole, a drug previously recommended only for acute stage treatment, are close to completion to determine the effectiveness in the treatment of early chronic and indeterminate Chagas disease. For visceral leishmaniasis new formulations, therapeutic switching, in particular AmBisome, and the potential for combinations of established drugs have significantly improved the opportunities for the treatment in the Indian subcontinent, but not in East Africa.

          Areas timely for developing research

          Improved diagnostic tools are needed to support treatment, for test of cure in clinical trials and for monitoring/surveillance of populations in control programmes.

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          Most cited references41

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          Visceral leishmaniasis: what are the needs for diagnosis, treatment and control?

          Visceral leishmaniasis (VL) is a systemic protozoan disease that is transmitted by phlebotomine sandflies. Poor and neglected populations in East Africa and the Indian sub-continent are particularly affected. Early and accurate diagnosis and treatment remain key components of VL control. In addition to improved diagnostic tests, accurate and simple tests are needed to identify treatment failures. Miltefosine, paromomycin and liposomal amphotericin B are gradually replacing pentavalent antimonials and conventional amphotericin B as the preferred treatments in some regions, but in other areas these drugs are still being evaluated in both mono- and combination therapies. New diagnostic tools and new treatment strategies will only have an impact if they are made widely available to patients.
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            Human African trypanosomiasis.

            Human African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness) occurs in sub-Saharan Africa. It is caused by the protozoan parasite Trypanosoma brucei, transmitted by tsetse flies. Almost all cases are due to Trypanosoma brucei gambiense, which is indigenous to west and central Africa. Prevalence is strongly dependent on control measures, which are often neglected during periods of political instability, thus leading to resurgence. With fewer than 12 000 cases of this disabling and fatal disease reported per year, trypanosomiasis belongs to the most neglected tropical diseases. The clinical presentation is complex, and diagnosis and treatment difficult. The available drugs are old, complicated to administer, and can cause severe adverse reactions. New diagnostic methods and safe and effective drugs are urgently needed. Vector control, to reduce the number of flies in existing foci, needs to be organised on a pan-African basis. WHO has stated that if national control programmes, international organisations, research institutes, and philanthropic partners engage in concerted action, elimination of this disease might even be possible. Copyright 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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              The relationship between leishmaniasis and AIDS: the second 10 years.

              To date, most Leishmania and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) coinfection cases reported to WHO come from Southern Europe. Up to the year 2001, nearly 2,000 cases of coinfection were identified, of which 90% were from Spain, Italy, France, and Portugal. However, these figures are misleading because they do not account for the large proportion of cases in many African and Asian countries that are missed due to a lack of diagnostic facilities and poor reporting systems. Most cases of coinfection in the Americas are reported in Brazil, where the incidence of leishmaniasis has spread in recent years due to overlap with major areas of HIV transmission. In some areas of Africa, the number of coinfection cases has increased dramatically due to social phenomena such as mass migration and wars. In northwest Ethiopia, up to 30% of all visceral leishmaniasis patients are also infected with HIV. In Asia, coinfections are increasingly being reported in India, which also has the highest global burden of leishmaniasis and a high rate of resistance to antimonial drugs. Based on the previous experience of 20 years of coinfection in Europe, this review focuses on the management of Leishmania-HIV-coinfected patients in low-income countries where leishmaniasis is endemic.

                Author and article information

                Br Med Bull
                Br. Med. Bull
                British Medical Bulletin
                Oxford University Press
                December 2012
                7 November 2012
                7 November 2012
                : 104
                : 1
                : 175-196
                []Wellcome Trust Centre of Molecular Parasitology, Institute of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation, College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences, University of Glasgow , Glasgow G12 8TA, UK
                []Department of Infectious and Tropical Diseases, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine , London WC1E 7HT, UK
                Author notes
                [* ]Correspondence address. Department of Infectious and Tropical Diseases, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine , London WC1E 7HT,UK. E-mail: simon.croft@ 123456lshtm.ac.uk
                © The Author [2012]. Published by Oxford University Press.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/), which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


                human african trypanosomiasis,chagas disease,leishmaniasis,antiprotozoal drug treatment,antiprotozoal drug development


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