Sudan scientist asks India for drug to treat leishmaniasis

Last Updated: Sat, Nov 24, 2012 07:40 hrs

Kolkata, Nov 24 (IANS) A leading Sudanese scientist has asked India to keep supplying the drug SSG, the only option available to treat leishmaniasis in the East African nation. Leishmaniasis is a disease spread by the bite of the female sandfly.

"Keep supplying the drug as it is the only option we have. The other drugs are too expensive or are not as effective," Ahmed Musa of the Institute of Endemic Diseases, University of Khartoum, Sudan, said here Friday.

He was speaking at a global meeting titled 'Hundred Years of Antimonials' at the Indian Institute of Chemical Biology (under the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research) in Kolkata.

Drug SSG, shown to be 93 percent effective, is supplied by India to the African nation and is well accepted by patients, who are mostly children.

According to the expert, leishmaniasis in East Africa is caused by the same parasitic species which is responsible for the disease in India, although the clinical forms of the disease are different in the two countries.

With 30,000 to 40,000 cases of visceral leishmaniasis recorded per year in the East African region and drug resistance on the increase, the search for alternatives is of paramount importance.

"Look for oral alternatives which are affordable and effectivity should not be less than 90 percent," Musa said.

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