Some 25 million people worldwide are at risk of Chagas disease and an estimated 6 million people, most of whom live in Latin America, are infected with Trypanosoma cruzi. Despite these statistics, Chagas disease is still a neglected disease and less than 1% of those infected have access to treatment. Today, the disease is no longer confined to rural areas of Latin America where transmission is primarily vector-borne. As a result of migratory flows, Chagas disease has spread to non-endemic countries, including Spain, where it is transmitted vertically from mother to child and through infected donor blood and organ transplants.
In ISGlobal, we are working to combat Chagas disease on three fronts. In Bolivia, the endemic country with the highest incidence, in partnership with the CEADES Foundation and in collaboration with the country’s National Chagas Programme (SEDES), the Universidad Autónoma de Juan Misael Saracho in Tarija and the Universidad Mayor de San Simón in Cochabamba, we have created a platform promoting comprehensive care to improve prevention efforts and enhance the diagnosis and treatment of chronic Chagas disease. We are also working to develop new drugs and biomarkers of therapeutic response. Finally, we are focussed on generating scientific evidence that will strengthen European legislation relating to the detection and control of Chagas disease.
As a result of intercontinental travel, imported infectious diseases continue to represent a problem. Moreover, with the introduction or presence of certain vectors, there is a risk that certain diseases may be reintroduced into our region. ISGlobal undertakes epidemiological surveillance and works to improve the tools for the diagnosis and treatment of these diseases.
Main Lines of Research
- Epidemiology of Chagas disease in non-endemic areas
- Biomarkers of therapeutic efficacy and biomarkers for the early diagnosis of cardiac lesions in patients with Chagas disease
- Clinical trials of new drugs to treat Chagas disease
- Pharmacokinetics of benznidazole
- Helminth infections
- Travel medicine
- Migrant health
- Vector control, diagnosis and treatment of leishmaniasis