Fight against Chagas Disease

Partnership Objectives

  1. Support WHO fighting to control Chagas disease by 2020 as outlined in the London Declaration on NTDs.
  2. To provide treatment for Chagas disease according to WHO requirements.

The mobile education teams visit about 1,800 small rural schools, teaching schoolchildren about the infection, risks and consequences of Chagas disease, to share these information with their families at home. The mobile education teams visit about 1,800 small rural schools, teaching schoolchildren about the infection, risks and consequences of Chagas disease, to share these information with their families at home. Copyright Bayer

What are the health needs and challenges?

Chagas disease is a potentially life-threatening illness caused by the protozoan parasite, Trypanosoma cruzi (T. cruzi). It is found mainly in Latin America, primarily transmitted to humans by the faeces of triatomine bugs. The pathogen that causes the disease can also be transmitted by transfusions of infected blood, or from an infected mother to her unborn child.

According to World Health Organization (WHO) about ten million people are infected with Chagas disease worldwide and more than 10,000 die each year as a result. In endemic countries of Latin America where about 8 million people are infected, more than 25 million people are at risk of the disease. As part of increased migration and travelling with globalization, the disease is spreading to the U.S. and Europe.

Many are already infected in childhood, and children account for the majority of new infections of Chagas' disease. The pathogen is often transmitted by an infected mother to her newborn during pregnancy or childbirth. An effective treatment of infected women of child-bearing age and children – in addition to systematic screening and diagnosis – is therefore an important and effective lever in getting the disease under control.

Description of partnership activities and how they address needs and challenges

Nifurtimox is one of only two approved treatments and included on the WHO’s list of "Essential Medicines". Bayer HealthCare, the manufacturer of nifurtimox, has given WHO a permanent supply guarantee for the drug.

Bayer is also currently developing a pediatric formulation of Nifurtimox; a smaller nifurtimox tablet with a lower active ingredient content (30 mg) for weight-adjusted doses in children of all age groups. The aim of the CHICO study is to develop an appropriate, weight-adjusted dosing for newborn babies and children.

Summary of impact and forward looking information

To combat Chagas’ disease, since 2004 Bayer has provided WHO with an annual donation of up to one million tablets of Lampit™ (active ingredient: nifurtimox 120 mg), along with an annual financial support of US$300,000 for logistics and distribution.

The CHICO study, which involves 390 pediatric patients including newborn babies, also aims to provide evidence for a shorter treatment duration. Chagas' disease is spreading beyond Latin America as a result of increased migration and travel. After successful completion of the study, Bayer therefore plans to register nifurtimox both in disease-endemic and in non-endemic countries with disease burden.

Videos

Chagas: Chapter 1 – The Disease

Chagas: Chapter 2 – The Children

Chagas: Chapter 3 – The Vector

Partnership information

Company(ies) Bayer

Partner(s) Caritas, World Health Organization (WHO)

Type of Partner(s) IGOs, NGOs

Therapeutic Focus Neglected Tropical Diseases

Disease(s) Chagas Disease

Program Type(s) Availability of Treatment - Financial Support, Availability of Treatment - Product Donations, Prevention Programs - Awareness & Outreach, Research & Development - Development of Treatments, Research & Development - Pediatric R&D

Targeted Population(s) Children, Marginalised / Indigenous People, People with low income, Youth

Region(s) Latin America & Caribbean

Number of Countries 9

Country(ies) Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Uruguay

Start Date 2004

More information Bayer

Anticipated completion date Ongoing