Introduction: Leishmaniasis – The Biology of a Parasite
One of the main problems of therapeutic tools for the treatment of parasitic diseases, including leishmaniasis, is that some field parasites are naturally resistant to classical drugs; additionally, current therapies may induce drug resistance. Treatment failure in leishmaniasis therefore has diverse causes. Some are related to drugs, such as pharmacokinetic properties, toxicity, use of suboptimal doses or high cost of treatment. Parasite-related grounds include chemo-resistance and tolerance. Finally, reasons attributable to the host may be related to the patient’s immune status and to reinfection. All these features are at least partially responsible for the disappointing persistence of leishmaniasis and its death and disability-adjusted life year toll worldwide. A better understanding of the disease itself and of drug resistance, its molecular basis, its consequences and possible avenues for better treatments may help improve this depressing picture. Experts in the field cover current knowledge and future trends of these and many other aspects of drug resistance in Leishmania in the present volume. This part offers a general introduction to the biology of Leishmania, a piece of knowledge fundamental to the various topics included in this book and for the comprehension of challenges we face currently for leishmaniasis.
KeywordsHuman Immunodeficiency Virus Visceral Leishmaniasis Cutaneous Leishmaniasis Insect Vector Direct Agglutination Test
The author is grateful for the financing support received from the Coordination for Research, Faculty of Medicine, UCV, and the Council for Scientific and Humanistic Research (CDCH), Universidad Central de Venezuela. Likewise she is grateful for the support conferred by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Germany, to Alicia Ponte-Sucre.
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