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A large step forward in the fight against African sleeping sickness

s not neutralized by Trypanosoma brucei rhodesiense. This truncated ApoL-1 variant can help to overcome the parasite that infects our body, but only when it is present in very high concentrations. The challenge for the researchers was to get this truncated ApoL-1 variant efficiently to the place where it is needed: onto the surface of the parasite.

Nanobody carries ApoL-1 variant to the parasite
Under the direction of Serge Muyldermans and Patrick De Baetselier, VIB researchers have previously produced a nanobody (a very small antibody) that targets and binds to the parasite very specifically (Stijlemans et al., 2004). Toya Nath Baral and his VIB colleagues have now succeeded in coupling this nanobody to the abbreviated ApoL-1 variant. This creates a special product that binds immediately to the parasite and thus brings the ApoL-1 variant to the place where it can carry out its neutralizing action.

All the tests performed on mice have been very promising: Trypanosome-infected mice survive after 1 treatment. The parasite is removed from the blood and all effects associated with the disease disappear. There is every indication that this substance can also counteract Trypanosoma brucei rhodesiense in humans − sparing them from African sleeping sickness.


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Source:VIB, Flanders Interuniversity Institute of Biotechnology


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