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Four-Year Kala Azar Treatment Study Launched In India, Bangladesh

“A four-year test of drugs to treat a widespread parasitic disease called kala azar was announced on Monday by the governments of India and Bangladesh, Doctors Without Borders, the Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative [DNDi] and other groups,” the New York Times reports. Kala azar, also known as visceral leishmaniasis, is transmitted by sand flies and affects approximately 500,000 people worldwide at any one time. The disease can cause skin boils, and, if left untreated, can also “cause persistent fever, weight loss, an enlarged spleen and … death,” the newspaper notes.

“The new study will compare different regimens in 10,000 patients to find the most effective and practical treatment, said Dr. Be-Nazir Ahmed, the director of disease control for the health ministry of Bangladesh,” the New York Times writes (McNeil, 11/7). “Experts say DNDi’s findings may ultimately change the way the disease is treated in these two countries,” VOA News notes (Sinha, 11/7).