No 'extra' patients in sleeping sickness trials
In reaction to your article (see Calls for fast access to sleeping sickness drug), Doctors Without Borders would like to clarify one point that did not reflect the real situation properly and has caused concern.
Even if it is true that preliminary results from sleeping sickness trials are overwhelmingly positive and that doctors want the combined medication available as soon as possible, it is not true that more patients — beyond the number needed — are being enrolled on the current trial in order to make the treatment available.
In fact, the four trial sites that completed their target enrolment (in Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo) all stopped enrolling patients in 2004 and 2006 successively. No patient is being enrolled or given the new treatment in any of these countries right now. The situation is different in Uganda, where two sites of the clinical trial are still enrolling patients, but this is because their target number is still not reached.Access to a safer treatment for sleeping sickness patients in stage two of the disease is urgently needed.