J Exp Pharmacol. 2021 Mar 31;13:409-432. doi: 10.2147/JEP.S267378. eCollection 2021.
Chagas disease is a neglected tropical disease caused by the protozoan Trypanosoma cruzi. Currently, only nitroheterocyclic nifurtimox (NFX) and benznidazole (BNZ) are available for the treatment of Chagas disease, with limitations such as variable efficacy, long treatment regimens and toxicity. Different strategies have been used to discover new active molecules for the treatment of Chagas disease. Target-based and phenotypic screening led to thousands of compounds with anti-T. cruzi activity, notably the nitroheterocyclic compounds, fexinidazole and its metabolites. In addition, drug repurposing, drug combinations, re-dosing regimens and the development of new formulations have been evaluated. The CYP51 antifungal azoles, as posaconazole, ravuconazole and its prodrug fosravuconazole presented promising results in experimental Chagas disease. Drug combinations of nitroheterocyclic and azoles were able to induce cure in murine infection. New treatment schemes using BNZ showed efficacy in the experimental chronic stage, including against dormant forms of T. cruzi. And finally, sesquiterpene lactone formulated in nanocarriers displayed outstanding efficacy against different strains of T. cruzi, susceptible or resistant to BNZ, the reference drug. These pre-clinical results are encouraging and provide interesting evidence to improve the treatment of patients with Chagas disease.