Over 160 participants from many different countries, including Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, France, Holland, Italy, Spain, Switzerland and the USA, met in Barcelona at the Casa del Mar to participate in the VIII Workshop on Imported Chagas Disease, an event organised jointly by ISGlobal and the Barcelona Centre for International Health Research (CRESIB). Since benznidazole has been out of stock for months, creating a situation of critical shortage, the news that it is now under production in Argentina was very well received by workshop participants. Likewise, the approval of a new paediatric formulation of the drug represents real progress for the thousands of infants infected with this neglected disease. Pere Albajar of the World Health Organization (WHO) urged participants to work hard to recover lost time, and went on to stress "the importance of including benznidazole and nifurtimox—the two drugs currently used to treat Chagas disease—on the WHO Essential Medicines List".
In the course of the workshop, twelve internationally recognised experts on Chagas disease reviewed the current situation and presented convincing evidence of the effectiveness in both adults and children of antiparasitic therapy. Information was also made public concerning late-stage clinical trials of new drugs, and the speakers highlighted the need for new biomarkers of cure or progression. Felipe Guhl of the University of the Andes (Colombia) summed up the workshop when he talked about "the urgent need to find a universal etiological treatment for all patients with Chagas disease".
Open publication (in Spanish)