The Fundación Mundo Sano, ISGlobal and the Barcelona Centre for International Health Research (CRESIB) have announced that benznidazole is once again in production and will soon be available to the thousands of patients with Chagas disease around the world who have been affected by the critical inventory shortages caused by the lack of supply in recent months.
"Clinical trials with new drugs are under way, but it will be years before any of them will be available for the treatment of patients with Chagas disease", warned Dr. Joaquim Gascon, head of Tropical Medicine in the Hospital Clínic, CRESIB researcher and head of the ISGlobal Chagas initiative. Dr Gascon went on to stress the importance of continuing to produce benznidazole because it is still the primary treatment of choice.
Working together, Mundo Sano and the Chemo pharmaceutical group have developed a generic version of benznidazole that will promote equitable availability. The Argentine company Laboratorio ELEA will manufacture the generic drug and market it under the name Abarax. Chemo has collaborated in the manufacture of the active ingredient, which was partially developed in the group's fine chemical plant in Alcala de Henares, Spain. Thanks to this joint effort, Abarax is now available in Argentina and is expected to be on the Latin American market very soon. The Fundación Mundo Sano is working with the regulatory authorities to make the drug available to patients throughout Latin America, as well as in Spain and other European countries.
The announcement was made at the VIII Workshop on Imported Chagas Disease in Barcelona.
Between 8 and 10 Million Cases
Chagas disease, also known as American trypanosomiasis, is a tropical disease, usually chronic, caused by infection with the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi. It is generally transmitted to humans and animals by insect vectors found mainly in rural areas of Latin America, where the disease is endemic. According to the World Health Organization, Chagas disease affects between 8 and 10 million people worldwide and, due to rapidly growing migration, now poses new challenges for public health systems in countries such as Spain where the disease is imported rather than endemic.
It is estimated that between 50,000 and 90,000 people in Spain could be affected by Chagas disease.