Thursday, April 1, 2010

Sleeping Sickness: Good News, Maybe

"Scientists in sleeping sickness 'breakthrough' "
BBC (March 31, 2010)

"Scientists say they have identified a potential treatment for sleeping sickness, a killer disease that infects about 60,000 people in Africa a year.

"British and Canadian experts say drugs could attack an enzyme the parasite causing the illness needs to survive.

"They say the orally-administered drug could be ready for human clinical trials in about 18 months...."

"Sleeping sickness" is a very real problem in areas where tsetse flies are common. It isn't the flies: it's the parasites they carry. Biting people is part of the tsetse fly life cycle - and the parasites have a really bad effect on our central nervous system.

My guess is that we'd have a more effective way of dealing with sleeping sickness now, if tsetse flies lived in Europe. They don't: and since Europe is where radical technological changes have generally been starting over about the last five centuries, sleeping sickness simply wasn't on the radar until fairly recently.

Western civilization is doing some serious catch-up these days, including this research. It was done in Dundee in partnership with the University or York in England and the Structural Genomics Consortium in Toronto, Canada.

There haven't been really acceptable treatments for sleeping sickness. As the article says:

"...The two drugs currently available to treat sleeping sickness both have associated problems.

"One is arsenic-based with side effects that kill one in 20 patients and the other - eflornithine - is costly, only partially effective and requires prolonged hospital treatment, the scientists said."

Arsenic and a 5% chance that the cure will kill you. Yeah, That's a real problem.

I sincerely hope that the tests go well.

No comments:

Unique, innovative candles

Visit us online:
Spiral Light CandleFind a Retailer
Spiral Light Candle online store

Pinterest: From the Man Behind the Lemming

Top 10 Most-Viewed Posts

Today's News! Some of it, anyway

Actually, some of yesterday's news may be here. Or maybe last week's.
The software and science stuff might still be interesting, though. Or not.
The Lemming thinks it's interesting: Your experience may vary.
("Following" list moved here, after Blogger changed formats)

Who Follows the Lemming?


Family Blogs - Blog Catalog Blog Directory