On October 1-2, 2009, Doctors Without Borders/Médicos Sin Fronteras/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) hosted a public event and experts' symposium in Los Angeles, California, on Chagas disease.
Discovered a century ago in 1909, Chagas disease is a neglected, parasitic disease affecting up to 15 million people worldwide, with 14,000 deaths each year. An estimated 300,000 people in the US have the disease. People infected with Chagas disease often do not know it and do not have access to treatment, thus killing thousands in silence year after year.
MSF and DNDi are actively working to increase the diagnosis and treatment of patients with Chagas disease and to address the urgent need for developing new drugs and diagnostics. These two events in Los Angeles aimed to raise public and professional awareness and to push for action so that those suffering from this hidden affliction may be cured.
MSF is an international medical humanitarian organization created by doctors and journalists in France in 1971. Today, MSF provides aid in more than 60 countries to people whose survival is threatened by violence, neglect, or catastrophe, primarily due to armed conflict, epidemics, malnutrition, exclusion from health care, or natural disasters. MSF provides independent, impartial assistance to those most in need.
DNDi is an independent, not-for-profit product development partnership (PDP) working to research and develop new and improved treatments for deadly neglected diseases such as leishmaniasis, sleeping sickness, Chagas disease, and malaria. DNDi’s cost-effective, patient-driven model for drug research is proving to be a viable alternative for patients long neglected by market-driven drug development priorities. DNDi is currently the only PDP with a portfolio of Chagas-specific drug development projects. For more information on DNDi’s portfolio and their campaign “Wake Up. Time to Treat Chagas Disease!” please visit www.treatchagas.org.