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Diseases & Projects

Neglected tropical diseases continue to cause significant morbidity and mortality in the developing world. Yet, of the 1,556 new drugs approved between 1975 and 2004, only 21 (1.3%) were specifically developed for tropical diseases and tuberculosis, even though these diseases account for 11.4% of the global disease burden.

In 2016, DNDi added mycetoma, hepatitis C and an incubation project for antimicrobial resistance to its portfolio. Please see for more information.

Human African TrypanosomiasisHuman African Trypanosomiasis



Sleeping sickness or Human African Trypanosomiasis (HAT) is endemic in 36 African countries and around 60 million people are at risk of being infected. HAT is transmitted by the tsetse fly and is fatal without treatment. Up until 2009, existing treatments for stage 2 of the disease were toxic or difficult to administer. In 2009, DNDi and its partners launched the first new treatment for HAT in 25 years.



Leishmaniasis occurs in 98 countries with 350 million people living at risk worldwide. The parasite that leads to infection is called Leishmania and transmitted by sandflies. Leishmaniasis is a poverty-associated disease with several different forms; visceral leismaniasis, which is fatal without treatment, and cutaneous leshmaniasis are the most common. Existing treatments are difficult to administer, toxic, and costly. Drug resistance is also an increasing problem.




Chagas disease is endemic in 21 countries across Latin America and kills more people in the region than any other parasite-borne disease, including malaria. In total, 70 million people are at risk worldwide and patient numbers are growing in non-endemic countries such as the United States, Australia, and Europe. The disease is transmitted by an insect known as the "kissing bug" and, without treatment, is potentially fatal. Existing treatments have an unsatisfactory cure rate and can have toxic side effects.

Malaria kills one child every minute in sub-Saharan Africa and is the leading parasitic cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. 3.2 billion people are at risk and while effective treatments exist, they have important limitations, including widespread drug resistance. DNDi and its partners have already developed two inexpensive, efficacious, field-adapted treatments.

Paediatric HIVPaediatric HIV


Filarial DiseasesFilarial Diseases

There are currently 35 million people living with HIV/AIDS worldwide, of which 97% are in low- and middle-income countries. This figure includes 3.2 million children below 15 years of age, the overwhelming majority of whom live in sub-Saharan Africa. Infants acquire the virus before, during, or after birth, and without access to treatment half of them will die before their second birthday.

Filarial diseases, onchocerciasis (river blindness) and lymphatic filariasis (elephantiasis) inflict the heaviest socioeconomic burden of all the neglected tropical diseases and affect millions in poverty-stricken areas. However current treatments target the juvenile worm (microfilariae) and need to be repeated for 5 years in the case of lymphatic filariasis, and for 12-15 years in the case of onchocerciasis. There is an unmet medical need for a drug that can kill the adult worms (macrofilaricide).



To learn more about DNDi projects and these diseases visit