Key to Parasitic Disease Treatment Seen

WASHINGTON, Sept. 22 (UPI) — The antibacterial ingredient in some soaps, toothpastes and odor-fighting socks could bring new treatments for a global parasitic disease, U.S. scientists say.

The ingredient triclosan points the way for future development of drugs to combat toxoplasmosis, an article in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry says.

Toxoplasmosis is one of the world’s most common parasitic infections, affecting about one-third of the world population, including 80 percent of the population of Brazil.

Many people have no symptoms because their immune systems keep the infection under control and the parasite remains inactive.

But it can cause eye damage and other problems, even becoming life threatening in individuals with weakened immune systems.

Research has shown that anti-bacterial triclosan has a powerful effect in blocking the action of a key enzyme the parasite, Toxoplasma gondii, uses to live.

Because it does not dissolve in the blood, triclosan cannot be used as a medication.

But scientists say understanding triclosan’s molecular structure can serve as a model for developing other potential medications, including some that show promise as more effective treatments for the disease.

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