Visceral leishmaniasis, also known as kala-azar (KA) is generally caused byLeishmania donovani. Organic pentavalent antimonials (SbV) is the first line of treatment for KA. However, the number of KA patients unresponsive to treatment with Sb(V) is steadily increasing in India and elsewhere. The primary objective of this work is to determine the factor(s) associated with the rise of unresponsiveness. Analysis of the clonal population of parasites clearly indicated that wild type parasites isolated from KA patients who were clinically cured after treatment with Sb(V), were a mixture of resistant and sensitive cells. The resistant promastigotes were also resistant as amastigotesin vivo. It was further observed that Stibanate sensitive parasites can be made resistant to the drug by repeated passages in experimental animals followed by incomplete treatment with suboptimal doses of the drug. These results suggest that the steady rise in Sb(V) unresponsiveness of KA patients in India is due to infection with resistant parasites, generated as a result of irregular and often incomplete treatment of the patients.
Volume 44 | Issue 5
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