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Clinical Trials Test Combination Treatments For Visceral Leishmaniasis

Researchers at a hospital in Kenya are testing an experimental combination therapy to treat visceral leishmaniasis, also known as kala azar or black fever, Think Africa Press reports. “[D]espite the spread of the disease and fatalities related to it, a long-standing lack of interest from pharmaceutical companies has meant that medication developed seven decades ago is still in use today,” the news service writes, adding, “This traditional treatment — the use of sodium stibogluconate (SSG) on its own — has been linked with the development of drug-resistance and its high toxicity levels can prove fatal.” However, the “new combination treatment for visceral leishmaniasis involves the use of SSG along with a drug called paromomycin (PM),” Think Africa Press continues, and writes, “According to tests, this treatment has a 93 percent success rate.” Noting the combination therapy has been registered in Kenya and recognized by the WHO as first-line treatment, the news service adds the therapy reduces the number of hospital days and lowers the overall cost of treatment. The article quotes several researchers involved in the testing of the treatment and notes a study of another combination therapy, AmBisome and miltefosine, is ongoing (Kamadi, 8/5).