Chagas disease represents a serious burden for millions of people worldwide. Transmitted
by the protozoan parasite Trypanosoma cruzi, this neglected tropical disease causes more than 10,000
deaths each year and is the main cause of heart failure in Latin America, where it is endemic. Although
most cases are concentrated in Latin American countries, Chagas disease has been increasingly
reported in non-endemic regions, where the low level of public awareness on the subject contributes
to the growing prevalence of the disease. The available medicines are characterized by several safety and efficacy
drawbacks that prevent millions of people, particularly those with advanced disease, from receiving adequate treatment.
This urgent need has stimulated the emergence of diverse initiatives dedicated to the research and development (R&D) of
novel therapeutic agents for Chagas disease. Public-private partnerships have been responsible for a significant increase in
the investments in R&D programs and major advancements have been achieved over the past ten years. A number of collaborative
projects have been leveraged by this organizational model, which privileges sharing of data, expertise, and resources
between research institutions and pharmaceutical companies. Among the current strategies employed by these
consortia, target-based and phenotypic screenings have achieved the most promising results. This article provides an
overview on the current status and recent advances in Chagas disease drug discovery.
Keywords: American trypanosomiasis, Cruzain, CYP51, Trypanosoma cruzi, Neglected tropical diseases, Inhibitors.
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