Bioanalysis Zone

A DBS method for quantitation of the new oral trypanocidal drug fexinidazole and its active metabolites


Sleeping sickness is the common name for human African trypanosomiasis (HAT), which is caused by bites of the tsetse fly, whereby kinetoplastid parasites – the trypanosomes – are injected. Two fly subspecies cause markedly different syndromes in sub-Saharan Africa: in western and central Africa, Trypanosoma brucei (T.b.) gambiense causes a chronic form of sleeping sickness, whereas in eastern and southern Africa, T.b. rhodesiense causes an acute form of the disease, which can lead to death within weeks or months [1,2]. Both forms of HAT evolve in two stages: early stage or stage 1 (hemolymphatic) shows nonspecific symptoms characterized by malaise, headache, fever and peripheral edema, whereas late stage 2 (meningoencephalic) brings neurological symptoms including behavior changes, sleeping rhythm alteration and convulsions, which, if left untreated, often lead to coma and death [3,4]. The number of new HAT cases reported to the WHO dropped to 3000 in 2015 – the lowest level since systematic global data began to be collected 75 years ago [5].

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