LONDON, Feb. 22 (Xinhua) -- Scientists in Britain said Wednesday they have developed a new drug in the fight against a parasite infection affecting 500 million people worldwide.
Research has shown the human whipworm, which can damage physical and mental growth, is killed at egg and adult stage by a new drug class developed at the Universities of Manchester and Oxford and at University College London.
The research team say current treatments for human whipworm are based on 1960s drugs initially developed for livestock, but they have a low success rate in people. There are also no vaccines currently available as a form of treatment.
The team from the three British universities, whose results have been published in the journal PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, studied a class of dihydrobenzoxazepinones, not previously associated with controlling whipworms.
"The researchers found that the compounds kill the adult stages of the whipworm much more effectively than existing drugs," a spokesman at the University of Manchester said.
The researchers are now modifying their compounds to make them effective enough for a treatment in humans, and one that can be turned into a product used in the developing countries most affected.