Fact Checked

A Pill For Parasites

A Pill For ParasitesYou probably don’t think about parasites very often, and there’s not much reason you should. Parasites are both disgusting and disturbing, and if you live in a developed country like the United States, you probably won’t ever encounter a parasite yourself. Unfortunately, people who live in the developing nations of Africa, Southeast, Asia, and other regions aren’t so lucky, and tens of thousands die of parasitic infections every year.

The problem with parasites isn’t just the fact that millions lack access to clean food and water, it’s also the lack of treatment options and the expensive, risky nature of the ones that exist. Parasites are usually much tougher than bacteria and viruses, and they present a unique challenge to anyone trying to fight them. On top of that, the people who get parasites are always the poorest populations, and so the big pharmaceutical companies have little reason to fund research in this particular direction.

However, governments and charity organizations do have a reason, and they’ve been funding anti-parasite medication research for decades. The going has been slow without the kind of money a major corporation can bring to bear, but recently their research has borne fruit: a new compound currently known only as “kinetoplastid proteasome” has shown an ability to kill the parasites responsible for Chagas disease, leishmaniasis, and sleeping sickness.

So far, researchers have only tested the drug on mice. However, if it works safely and successfully in humans, it could help upwards of 20 million people who suffer from these parasitic diseases each year.

The way the new drug works is by inhibiting a certain kind of protein called a proteasome. The function of proteasomes is to break down other proteins into their amino acid components so the cell can recycle them into new proteins. By targeting the proteasomes in the cells of these parasites (and not targeting the proteasomes used by a mammal’s cells), a simple pill of the new drug can quickly kill off the infestation without any major side effects.

Or at last that’s the theory. A live test on mice is only the first step on a very long path to FDA, and a lot of surprises could show up in the process. Still, it’s exciting to think we could have a pill that kills parasites as easy as antibacterial drugs cure diseases like tuberculosis and syphilis.

And whether you need an anti-parasite drug, an antibacterial, or a medication to treat a chronic condition, you can count on the USA Rx pharmacy discount card to get you a reduced price. We aren’t an insurance provider, and while that means we don’t offer free medications for basic needs, it also means that we don’t demand any payments, we don’t have limited medication coverage, and we don’t have any high deductibles you need to pay to get our full benefits. You can find out more by emailing us at [email protected] or by calling us at 888-277-3911.

Published August 25th, 2016 by Stephanie Clegg
Fact Checked by Chris Riley

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