Leishmaniasis is a disease caused by the Leishmania parasites. The Leishmania parasite is a single cell protozoan, which is transmitted by the bite of the female phlebotomine sand fly infected by the parasite. There are over 20 Leishmania species reported, which are transmitted to humans by the bite of infected female phlebotomine sandflies. Furthermore, over 90 sand-fly species are known to transmit Leishmania parasites. Leishmaniasis consists of three different forms: visceral Leishmaniasis, cutaneous Leishmaniasis, and mucocutaneous Leishmaniasis. The visceral form of Leishmaniasis is also known as ‘Kala-azar’. Cutaneous Leishmaniasis is the most common form of Leishmaniasis.
Leishmaniasis primarily occurs due to poor hygienic conditions and thus, affects the poorest of people in the community who are facing problems such as poor housing, malnutrition, and weak immune systems. The disease is also linked to environmental changes such building of dams, irrigation schemes, deforestation, urbanization, etc. Each year, around 1.6 million new infections occur, and 47,000 deaths occur due to Leishmaniasis.
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In 95% of cases of visceral leishmaniasis (VL), the disease can be fatal if left untreated. The clinical symptoms of VL include weight loss, irregular bouts of fever, liver and spleen enlargement, and anemia. This form of Leishmaniasis is highly endemic in the Indian subcontinent and in East Africa. Cutaneous Leishmaniasis (CL) is the most common form of Leishmaniasis. It is characterized by ulcers and skin lesions on the body. This results in marks and scars on the patient’s body, which may last a lifetime and cause certain disabilities. Mucocutaneous Leishmaniasis can cause partial or total damage to the mucous lining of the mouth, nose, and throat. Persons infected with HIV have a greater risk of acquiring Leishmaniasis due to their compromised immune systems.
Globally, Africa, North America, and south East Asia are witnessing major problems due to lack of medication available to treat Leishmaniasis. High cost of the drugs restricts Leishmaniasis treatment in many endemic regions. High priority was not provided for leishmaniasis drug development programs by pharmaceutical companies, as the disease primarily affects the poor from developing nations and hence, are not able to get good returns on their research and development cost. However, increasing awareness about the disease and rise in incidence rate of the disease in other parts of the globe. Moreover, the unmet medical need is estimated to present an opportunity for all research and development programs to invest in the global leishmaniasis drugs market. Currently, no vaccination is available for the treatment of this disease, and the focus relies on chemotherapy and prevention and control measures of leishmaniasis.
The global market for leishmaniasis treatment can be segmented on the basis of type of drug used for its treatment, diagnostic method, and vector control methods. In terms of type of drug used, the market can be segmented into pentavalent antimonials like Sodium stibogluconate, SSG Meglumine antimoniate; antibiotics like Amphotericin B, Liposomal amphotericin B, Miltefosine, Paromomycin and Pentamidine. Market segmentation based on diagnostic methods include rapid test for detection of the parasite or antibodies against it like- rK39 Dipstick, Direct Agglutination Test (DAT), Kala-azar Latex Agglutination Test (KAtex), and culture and polymerase chain reaction. Market segmentation by vector control methods include use of nets or mesh, use of sprays and insecticides effective against sandflies. Pharmaceutical companies and organizations are likely to adopt new methods and treatments due to continuous research and development in scientific technology to cure this disease. This, in turn, is likely to drive the demand for leishmaniasis treatment drugs during the forecast period.
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Key players operating in the leishmaniasis treatment market include Enzon Pharmaceuticals (Abelcet), Paladin Therapeutics Inc., Gland Pharma/iOWH, Sequus Pharmaceuticals, Lifecare Innovation, and Sanofi Aventis .
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