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Published on 11 February 2010

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Single dose cure for leishmaniasis

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A single dose of AmBisome could help treat more patients with the deadly infection leishmaniasis, according to a new study.

Researchers found a single dose of the drug, known as liposomal amphotericin B, cured nearly every case of the parasitic infection during a study in India.

The drug cured all 304 patients with the disease taking part in the study within 30 days, compared to just 98% of 108 volunteers treated with a different form of amphotericin for 29 days.

Although relapses were seen in some patients after six months, the success rate of the two treatments was roughly the same – more than 95%.

Dr Shyam Sundar, of the Banaras Hindu University in Varanasi, who led the study, said that with a one-dose, one-hour treatment it could be possible to treat “40 to 50 times more patients” and avoid long, costly stays in hospital.

Symptoms of the condition, also known as kala-azar, include fever, fatigue and weight loss as the parasites infect cells.

The deadly disease, spread by the sandfly, can be found in Europe, Asia and Africa but is concentrated in India. It infects about 500,000 people each year.

The study has been published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The New England Journal of Medicine

 



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