New Partnership Announced to Combat African Animal Trypanosomiasis

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the UK Government Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office, Boehringer Ingelheim and GALVmed announced the creation of a new partnership to work on solutions to combat African animal trypanosomiasis (AAT).

African animal trypanosomiasis (AAT), also known as nagana, is a substantial socio-economic burden to livestock farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa, affecting and killing millions of cattle every year, according to a press release Boehringer Ingelheim sent to ENA.

AAT is a disease of vertebrate animals affecting cattle, water buffalo, sheep, goats, horses, pigs, dogs, and other species.

AAT is caused by the protozoan parasites Trypanosoma congolense, Trypanosoma vivax and, to a lesser extent, Trypanosoma brucei brucei, and is a major problem in Africa where it is mainly spread by tse-tse flies.

Infection by Trypanosoma vivax also occurs in northern South America where it is transmitted by biting flies such as stable flies (Stomoxys) and horseflies (Tabanids), and it has more recently been reported in the Middle East.

Infectious parasites enter the bloodstream of the host animal and multiply causing fever, weakness, lethargy, and anaemia which lead to weight loss, reduced fertility and milk production, and may result in death.

In Africa, AAT is estimated to threaten more than 50 million cattle in tse-tse endemic areas.

AAT is estimated to kill as many as 3 million cattle annually. Losses directly attributed to reduced meat and milk production as well as the cost of treatment and tse-tse control are estimated to be more than 1 billion USD annually.

Losses in agricultural gross domestic product in all affected areas in Africa are believed to be around 4.5 billion USD annually.

Most countries in which AAT occurs are developing countries, with limited resources to monitor and control endemic livestock diseases, the press release said.

The newly announced partnership between the partners aims to develop and make available a new solution to address AAT.

The press release noted that they will conduct research and collaborate with other academic and international projects to promote and develop solutions to address AAT.

Development of new veterinary products takes many years, the press release said, adding that it is a complex process, and the partnership has much work to do before it can declare that it has a highly prospective new solution and what a likely launch date would be.

The partnership’s aspiration is to be able to launch a new solution for AAT before 2030.

Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health is working on first-in-class innovation for the prediction, prevention, and treatment of diseases in animals.

Source: Ethiopian News Agency