Chagas disease is a deadly infection caused by the protozoan parasite Trypanosoma cruzi. Afflicting approximately 8 million people in Latin America, Chagas disease is now becoming a serious global health problem proliferating beyond the traditional geographical borders, mainly because of human and vector migration. Because the disease is endemic in low-resource areas, industrial drug development has been lethargic. The chronic form remains incurable, there are no vaccines, and 2 existing drugs for the acute form are toxic and have low efficacy. Here we report the efficacy of a small molecule, VNI, including evidence of its effectiveness against chronic Chagas disease. VNI is a potent experimental inhibitor of T. cruzi sterol 14α-demethylase. Nontoxic and highly selective, VNI displays promising pharmacokinetics and administered orally to mice at 25 mg/kg for 30 days cures, with 100% cure rate and 100% survival, the acute and chronic T. cruzi infection.
Keywords: Chagas disease; Trypanosoma cruzi; VNI; drug discovery; inhibition; sterol 14alpha-demethylase (CYP51); sterol biosynthesis.