• Target disease: Chagas
  • Main partners (since project start): Barcelona Centre for International Health Research, Spain; Dr Mario Fatala Chaben National Institute of Parasitology, Argentina; Hospital de Niños Ricardo Gutiérrez, Buenos Aires, Argentina; Infectious Diseases Data Observatory (IDDO), University of Oxford, UK; IS Global, Institute for Global Health, Spain; Leti, CEA, France; London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK; McGill University, Canada; Médecins Sans Frontières; National Council of Scientific and Technological Research (INGEBI-CONICET), Argentina; NHEPACHA network; Texas Biomedical Research, USA; Universidad Autónoma Juan Misael Saracho, Bolivia; Universidad Mayor de San Simon, Bolivia; Universidad San Martin, Argentina; University Hospitals of Geneva, Switzerland; University of Georgia Research Foundation, USA; University of Texas at El Paso, USA.
  • Project start: 2010
  • Funding (since project start): Department for International Development (DFID), UK; Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs (DGIS), the Netherlands; Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors without Borders, International; Ministry of Health, Brazil; Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID), Spain; Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), Switzerland; Wellcome Trust, UK; Other private foundations and individuals.


Overall objective:

  • Identify and evaluate new biological markers of therapeutic efficacy in chronic Chagas disease.



There is no single reliable test of cure that can be used to monitor the efficacy of a treatment in chronic Chagas disease patients in a timely manner. This lack of validated early markers of serological cure poses a significant hurdle for the development and regulatory approval of new drugs. Current work is focusing on raising awareness among Chagas stakeholders about the need for biomarkers, with particular emphasis on regulatory aspects and the biomarker development process. 


Presentation of the Chagas Clinical Data Sharing Platform project (IDDO/DNDi) in plenary at the 2018 Chagas Platform Meeting in Santa Cruz was well received by clinicians. In parallel, the development of a prototype assay is ongoing for newly identified biomarkers – Apo A1 and Fbn fragments issued from a collaboration with McGill University – with InfYnity Biomarkers.

The analysis of the NHEPACHA study data is pending and will be presented at the XV Chagas Disease Workshop organized by the Institute for Global Health Barcelona in March 2019.  

Pre-clinical studies started in 2016 and were ongoing in 2017 to identify and validate potential biological markers of therapeutic response in Chagas patients. In addition, through the Ibero-American network NHEPACHA, DNDi is fostering work on testing four biomarkers to assess the response to Chagas treatment.

Pre-clinical studies are ongoing to identify and validate potential biological markers of therapeutic response in Chagas disease patients to support clinical development.  In addition, DNDi is fostering and encouraging work for testing four biomarkers to assess response of treatment of Chagas through the Iberoamerican network NHEPACHA.
Analysis of sera from children treated with benznidazole was undertaken in order to evaluate a potential correlation between seroconversion and the presence or absence of biological markers. Early indications are that these can be used to classify patients as cured or not, and results of confirmatory experiments are expected in 2016.

DNDi is collaborating with the University of Georgia and the Texas Biomedical Research Institute in a Wellcome Trust funded, non-human primate study in naturally infected animals with chronic Chagas disease, to further determine PCR and other markers as sensitive tools to consistently differentiate parasitological cure from treatment failure. The dosing period of the non-human primate study in naturally infected animals with chronic Chagas disease ended in 2015, and a 12-month follow-up assessment was completed in August 2015. The study immunosuppression phase was initiated in October 2015 and will end in mid-2016, at which point blood and tissue sample PCR and assessment of other biomarkers will be undertaken to determine if they can differentiate parasitological cure from treatment failure.

DNDi is a member of the NHEPACHA network of investigators created for the long-term cohort evaluation of potential biomarkers.


Last update: August 2019