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Treatments for HIV-visceral leishmaniasis co-infected patients

Date:
October 6, 2014
Source:
Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative
Summary:
The international research and development consortium, AfriCoLeish, formed by six research organizations from East Africa and Europe, has launched a Phase III clinical study to address the extreme difficulty in treating visceral leishmaniasis (VL) in patients who also are HIV-positive. The study will assess the efficacy and the safety of two treatments: a combination treatment of AmBisome and miltefosine, and AmBisome alone. This is the first randomized clinical trial in Africa to confirm the World Health Organization's recommendation for HIV-VL treatment.
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The international research & development (R&D) consortium, AfriCoLeish, formed by six research organizations from East Africa and Europe, has launched a Phase III clinical study to address the extreme difficulty in treating visceral leishmaniasis (VL) in patients who also are HIV-positive. The study will assess the efficacy and the safety of two treatments: a combination treatment of AmBisome® and miltefosine, and AmBisome® alone. This is the first randomized clinical trial in Africa to confirm the World Health Organization's recommendation for HIV-VL treatment. Two sites, Gondar and Abdurafi, in northwest Ethiopia, one of the highest burden areas in the world, have begun recruiting patients.

HIV-AIDS and VL, fatal without treatment, both affect the immune system of the patients. When the two diseases occur together, treatment of both diseases becomes more challenging. The risk of death from VL is nine times higher in patients who are co-infected with HIV. VL also accelerates the progression of HIV. Relapses of VL in patients co-infected with HIV are also very common, affecting half of treated patients within a year of initial treatment, and overall VL cure rates are significantly lower.

An emerging global problem, VL-HIV cases are reported in 35 countries worldwide, spanning Southern Europe, East Africa, the Indian subcontinent, and Latin America. One of the hardest hit areas in Africa is northwest Ethiopia, where anywhere from 20% to 40% of patients with VL were found to be also infected with HIV.

'Treating patients that suffer both HIV and visceral leishmaniasis is a real battle for clinicians. Research strongly suggests that we need to strike the right balance between stronger treatments and safer treatments', said Koert Ritmeijer, PhD, Health Advisor, Médecins Sans Frontières.

'Combining better initial cure treatments and preventing relapses will be a major step forward for our patients, who today fear that the diseases, which can be managed when they occur separately, often become a death sentence when they occur together. We have to do all we can to provide the most affected, a highly vulnerable migrant population, with an appropriate response', said Dr Ermias Diro, Principal Site Investigator, University of Gondar.

The Phase III clinical study conducted in Gondar and Abdurafi, Ethiopia, will assess the efficacy and safety of the combination of AmBisome® (30mg/kg total dose) and miltefosine (50mg or 100mg/day depending on the patient's weight), and AmBisome® alone (40mg/kg total dose). Total treatment duration is 28 days, if the tests show that the patient is parasite-negative (at day 29). Thereafter, the patient will start a secondary prophylaxis treatment aimed at preventing VL relapses and a one-year follow-up phase. A total of 132 patients will be recruited for the trial.

'Visceral leishmaniasis, notably in East Africa, is among the most neglected of all neglected tropical diseases. The work of this consortium to address the additional challenge of co-infection with HIV in Ethiopia is vital as it has begun to tackle one of the most challenging endemic areas and aspects of this fatal disease', said Dr Jorge Alvar, Head of Leishmanisis Programme, DNDi.


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Materials provided by Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Cite This Page:

Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative. "Treatments for HIV-visceral leishmaniasis co-infected patients." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 October 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/10/141006085351.htm>.
Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative. (2014, October 6). Treatments for HIV-visceral leishmaniasis co-infected patients. ScienceDaily. Retrieved June 24, 2024 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/10/141006085351.htm
Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative. "Treatments for HIV-visceral leishmaniasis co-infected patients." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/10/141006085351.htm (accessed June 24, 2024).

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