To combat neglected tropical diseases, many of which still threaten millions of people in many parts of the world, Bayer is working together with the World Health Organization (WHO). In particular, as part of its Access-to-Medicine activities, the company has supported the WHO in the fight against Chagas disease, which is widespread in Latin America, and African sleeping sickness for many years on the basis of cooperation agreements.
The pathogen of Chagas disease – the single-cell parasite Trypanosoma cruzi – is transmitted by assassin bugs, which find ideal living conditions in the cracks of unplastered mud huts. This means that people in simple living conditions are most at risk.
Minor, flu-like symptoms appear directly after infection, but they are so non-specific that they are often misinterpreted – although the disease is completely curable with drugs at this stage. About two months later, Chagas disease enters a chronic stage that progresses for years, leading to severe organ damage and finally to sudden cardiac death.
Education and early diagnosis and treatment are key in the fight against Chagas disease.
To treat patients affected by Chagas disease, Bayer annually supplies the WHO with Lampit™ (active ingredient: nifurtimox) free of charge and also provides financial assistance for local logistics and distribution. more
Confusion, sensory disturbances, coordination difficulties: patients who suffer from African sleeping sickness gradually lose control of their consciousness and eventually fall into a coma in the final stage of the disease. This insidious infection is caused by single-celled Trypanosoma parasites, which attack the brain and the central nervous system. If left untreated, African sleeping sickness is fatal, although it can be cured with drugs in the early stages.
There are various forms of African sleeping sickness. Every year, Bayer supplies the drug product Germanin™ (active ingredient: suramin) free of charge to the WHO to treat infected people in Eastern and Southern Africa.
To treat the most widespread, West African form of sleeping sickness, the company annually donates Lampit™ for a combination therapy with the active ingredient of another manufacturer.