WHY IN THE NEWS?
Indian researchers have developed a non-invasive, easy to administer, cost-effective, and patient compliant potential therapeutic strategy against Visceral Leishmaniasis.
- The leishmaniases are a group of diseases caused by protozoan parasites. These parasites are transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected female phlebotomine sandfly, a tiny – 2–3 mm long – insect vector.
- Types: There are three main forms of this disease:
- Cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL)
- Visceral leishmaniasis (VL), also known as kala-azar, and
- Mucocutaneous leishmaniasis (MCL)
- CL is the most common form, VL is the most severe form and MCL is the most disabling form of the disease.
About Visceral Leishmaniasis(VL):
- Visceral Leishmaniasis(VL) is also known as kala-azar. The disease is characterized by irregular bouts of fever, substantial weight loss, swelling of the spleen and liver, and anaemia.
- It is a neglected tropical disease that affects millions annually, making it the second most common parasitic killer after malaria.
- If the disease is not treated, the fatality rate in developing countries can be as high as 100% within 2 years.
Treatment of VL:
- The conventional treatment therapy of VL mainly involves painful intravenous administration. This imposes many treatment complications, including prolonged hospitalization, high cost, and high risk of infection.
- On the other hand, Oral drug delivery brings forth massive advantages that can help overcome these barriers. But with oral routes have potential high renal toxic side effects.
- To overcome this, scientists have developed a method based on nano carrier-based oral drugs coated with Vitamin B12. This method can mitigate challenges and drug-associated toxicity.