DNDi publicly declared support for WHO endorsement of the first all-oral treatment of sleeping sickness since it set the pace for future speedy treatments of sleeping sickness leading to eradication and promotion of public-private partnerships in health innovations.


DNDi has foreseen the impact of WHO endorsement of fexinidazole listing in essential medicines list to promote public acceptance and promote the government’s work to eradicate sleeping sickness which also is a big boost to encourage innovation through private-public partnerships.


WHO endorsement of fexinidazole the world’s first all-oral treatment for sleeping sickness and a breakthrough health innovation in treating the neglected tropical diseases was announced in July 2019.


The WHO endorsement by officially registering fexinidazole as essential medicine adds to approvals of endorsements use obtained in the 2018 European Medicines Agency after obtaining acceptance for use in some countries.


Fexinidazole is already being used in high burden sleeping sickness areas like the Democratic Republic of Congo. The government of Congo didn’t cite any obstacles when they commenced using fexinidazole to officially use the drug as a treatment of sleeping sickness.


But then Congo was one of the trial centres of the first all-oral treatment for sleeping sickness and thereafter the European Medicines Agency announced successful clinical trials in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) which showed that those who used the drug fexinidazole got cured.


DNDi, however, argued that WHO’s listing of first all-oral treatment for sleeping sickness as essential medicines is perceived by the public as superior endorsement will create more public confidence to use the drug and create awareness on public-private partnerships.


Fexinidazole was developed to help countries with the problem of sleeping sickness treat it better. It is a 10-day once – a – day treatment for sleeping sickness. It works for both stage 1 and chronic stage 2 of sleeping sickness where parasites have crossed the blood barrier.


The drug eliminates the previous need for admission in hospitals and several diagnostic and treatment procedures because it can be used at home. Also, it is less toxic compared to the previous drugs used that had severe side effects such as melarsoprol.


“Results showed that fexinidazole could, therefore, eliminate the need for systematic hospitalization and potential reduction in a number of lumbar punctures, ” stated DNDi.


Almost every stage of the process of development of fexinidazole has been characterized by public relations approvals. During the process of obtaining regulation for the medicine done in alignment with WHO laws outside Europe which is article 58, the high endemic countries DRC and Uganda were allowed to participate in the regulations review which followed by the approvals.


This is in view that medicine solves the huge burden of sleeping sickness in the high burden areas such as entire Africa and especially sub – Saharan Africa where the deadly disease previously killed 5% of patients even with medication and without treatment was a death sentence. The fatal sleeping made people vulnerable to causing stigmatized mental health problems manifested in Nero psychiatric symptoms including aggression, psychosis and disruption of sleep.


With all the benefits of fexinidazole drug, DNDI still stated that the listing will increase the confidence of more governments in especially those in high burden countries to include the drug in their drugs list.DNDi applauded the personnel and organizations who worked to ensure that fexinidazole not only obtains approval but also gets the prestigious WHO Essential Medicines Listing for demonstrating a commitment to working to serve the masses affected by the deadly tropical disease of sleeping sickness.


“Inclusion of Fexinidazole is also a further sign of WHO and Sanofi’s commitment to ensuring swift deployment of this paradigm-changing treatment. The WHO’s Essential Medicines List is used by countries to guide decisions on which products need to be made widely available for their populations. It will spur governments in endemic countries to include Fexinidazole in their treatment guidelines,” stated Dr. Natalie Strub-Wourgaft, Director of Neglected Tropical.


To encourage innovation they let people know that Fexinidazole was made out of a drug that was abandoned in 1980. The new drug fexinidazole is approved for use to treat sleeping sickness for both stage one and stage two of the disease of sleeping sickness. The medicine that is recommended for use for both children and adults in the development of known cures was abandoned in the 1980.


”Fexinidazole is a 5-Nitroimidazole derivative that was rediscovered in 2005 during DNDi’s search for compounds with anti – parasitic activity, after being developed and abandoned in 1980,” stated DNDi.


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