Nitroheterocyclic drugs cure experimental Trypanosoma cruzi infections more effectively in the chronic stage than in the acute stage

by Francisco AF, Jayawardhana S, Lewis MD, White KL, Shackleford DM, Chen G, Saunders J, Osuna-Cabello M, Read KD, Charman SA, Chatelain E, Kelly JM. Scientific Reports 2016, doi: 10.1038/srep35351.

Summary: Chagas disease is characterized by an acute phase that then develops into a chronic life-long infection. The front-line drugs benznidazole and nifurtimox are understood to be more effective against the acute stage, but this has not been confirmed due to difficulties in demonstrating sterile parasitological cure. A systematic study of nitroheterocyclic drug efficacy in mice, using highly sensitive bioluminescence imaging, unexpectedly found both drugs to be more effective at curing chronic infections. Fexinidazole and fexinidazole sulfone were found to be more effective cures than benznidazole and nifurtimox, particularly in the acute stage. If translatable to human patients, these findings will have important implications for treatment strategies.

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