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Chagas disease, also known as American trypanosomiasis, kills 50,000 people a year, and no effective drugs exist for more than 16 million people — most of them poor people in Latin America — with chronic infections.

But a new strategy, so far successful in lab dishes, aims to stop the parasite in its tracks.

The approach, developed by a group of Venezuelan researchers, prevents the parasite from making ergosterol, a fatty, cholesterol-like molecule that the parasite needs to keep its cell membranes working properly, among other key functions.

Reference: Science 295, 433 (2002)

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