Your selection in the media library
Leishmaniasis is a serious parasitic disease with several forms, cutaneous mucocutaneous or visceral, respectively causing skin sores, ulceration and internal damage. The visceral form can be fatal if no treatment is given. These diseases are endemic in more than 98 countries across the world, most of them developing countries, and 350 million people are exposed to them. The protozoan pathogens, responsible, from the genus Leishmania , are transmitted to humans or other mammals by the bite of a sand fly, Phlebotomus . Medications exist, including antimony, the one most commonly used, but their efficacy is diminishing owing to the emergence of resistant parasites.
Nevertheless new hope is on the horizon for treating this much-neglected disease. IRD scientist and their research partners ( 1) recently identified the key role of nicotinamidase, an enzyme( 2) in the parasite Leishmania , essential for its survival but which does not exist in humans. The pathogen is incapable of developing in mammals In the absence of this enzyme. Specific targeting of this enzyme could lead to more effective ways of controlling this neglected tropical disease.