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Last Updated: Tuesday, 9 December, 2003, 13:15 GMT
1.5m for sleeping sickness cure
Dundee scientists have been awarded more than 1.5m to find a cure for African sleeping sickness.

The money will go towards the study of the disease which kills thousands of people every year in Africa.

The killer disease, transmitted by the bite of the tsetse fly, kills more than 60,000 people annually.

Current treatments are poor and new safer medicines are required, with researchers using modern technology to help find a cure.

The work at Dundee University will involve modern super-computers and high-tech analytical equipment to investigate the disease.

Four more scientists will be employed to assist with the work over the next five years.

University-based research is critical to the search for new medicines to combat these appalling diseases
Professor Michael Ferguson

The cause of human African sleeping sickness is the parasite Trypanosoma brucei, which is transmitted by the bite of a tsetse fly.

Professors Michael Ferguson and Geoff Barton have received a five-year grant of 1.66m from the Wellcome Trust Programme.

Professor Ferguson said: "The current drugs to treat human African sleeping sickness are based on arsenic and are extremely poor.

"New, safer, medicines are urgently needed. Because of the low health-care budgets in sub-Saharan Africa the pharmaceutical industry is not interested in developing medicines for these, and many other tropical diseases.

"University-based research is therefore critical to the search for new medicines to combat these appalling diseases."

A related cattle disease also prevents the animals being farmed in vast areas of the continent.

Gene science targets sleeping sickness
03 Jun 03  |  Science/Nature
New drive to root out deadly fly
18 Feb 02  |  Africa

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