"Sleeping sickness” (Human African Trypanosomiasis)
Jump-Start on Slow Trek to Treatment for a Disease
By DONALD G. McNEIL Jr.
Published: January 8, 2008
Last month, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation donated $19 million to the Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative to further one of its goals: finding a new drug for African sleeping sickness.
Not that $19 million will come close to doing that. Even if a miracle cure is found, it will take lab work and clinical trials that could easily cost $100 million to prove it is really a miracle and not the Vioxx of the African savannah.
But the gift spotlights just how tricky the search for new treatments can be when the disease is fearsome but nearly forgotten because its victims are poor and obscure.
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