Challenges in Chagas Disease Drug Development

Molecules. 2020 Jun 17;25(12):2799. doi: 10.3390/molecules25122799.


The protozoan parasite Trypanosoma cruzi causes Chagas disease, an important public health problem throughout Latin America. Current therapeutic options are characterised by limited efficacy, long treatment regimens and frequent toxic side-effects. Advances in this area have been compromised by gaps in our knowledge of disease pathogenesis, parasite biology and drug activity. Nevertheless, several factors have come together to create a more optimistic scenario. Drug-based research has become more systematic, with increased collaborations between the academic and commercial sectors, often within the framework of not-for-profit consortia. High-throughput screening of compound libraries is being widely applied, and new technical advances are helping to streamline the drug development pipeline. In addition, drug repurposing and optimisation of current treatment regimens, informed by laboratory research, are providing a basis for new clinical trials. Here, we will provide an overview of the current status of Chagas disease drug development, highlight those areas where progress can be expected, and describe how fundamental research is helping to underpin the process.

Keywords: Chagas disease; Trypanosoma cruzi; drug development.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chagas Disease / drug therapy*
  • Chagas Disease / metabolism
  • Chagas Disease / parasitology
  • Drug Development*
  • Drug Discovery*
  • Humans
  • Trypanocidal Agents* / chemistry
  • Trypanocidal Agents* / therapeutic use
  • Trypanosoma cruzi / metabolism*


  • Trypanocidal Agents