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22 May 2012 08:36
The research was carried out in laboratories in California
Researchers have suggested that a drug commonly used to combat arthritis may also be an effective weapon against parasitic organisms.
Marketed as Ridaura, auranofin reduces the inflammation which rheumatoid arthritis causes.
But studies suggest auranofin could also be used to treat amoebic dysentery and maybe Giardia - diseases which often affect people in developing nations.
The two infections cause severe diarrhoea and stomach cramps - symptoms which can be suffered by those spending long periods of time in such far-flung destinations.
Those travelling to developing countries should ensure they have a
medical travel insurance policy in place before they arrive to offer cover for any essential treatment.
More than 70,000 people die each year due to the amoebic dysentery organism Entamoeba histolytica, and most of the deaths occur in developing countries.
But American scientists found that auranofin targets a protective enzyme the amoeba needs if it is to survive.
Hamsters and mice were infected and it was found the drug caused a decline in the number of parasites as well as reducing inflammation.
Research showed auranofin was 10 times more effective than the antibiotic metronidazole, which is used to treat dysentery at the moment.
"This new use of an old drug represents a promising therapy for a major health threat," said lead researcher Professor Sharon Reed, from the University of California at San Diego.
17 January 2017
Stansted Airport has made a bid to become Britain's next hub for long-haul travel, as passengers are promised seamless connection facilities and baggage transfer.
13 January 2017
Long-term goals such as travelling more and visiting new places have come above healthy eating and changing jobs in a list of the top New Year's resolutions.
14 January 2017
Some of the biggest airports in the UK have been forced to cancel flights as snow and blizzard conditions sweep parts of the country.
Stress could be as significant a risk factor for heart attacks and strokes as smoking, drinking and overeating, new research shows.
24 December 2016
Planned strikes by British Airways cabin crew on Christmas Day and Boxing Day have been suspended amid continuing industrial unrest ahead of the weekend break.
11 January 2017
A connection between diabetes and inflection in children could be a major breakthrough in developing a cure for type 1 diabetes, according to new research.
10 January 2017
A new trial aimed at tackling widespread loneliness among older people is successfully reducing isolation using community-based tactics, a report shows.
07 January 2017
People may be able to enjoy better brain health in later life by following a Mediterranean diet, research has suggested.
06 January 2017
Many Britons plan to cut down on the costs of their holidays in 2017, as part of their financial resolutions for the New Year.
05 January 2017
Holidaymakers have been encouraged to make the most of the fact 2017 boasts a pair of bank holiday weekends just two weeks apart.
04 January 2017
Holidaymakers are increasingly turning their attentions to trips which are all-inclusive, new research has suggested.
31 December 2016
Budget airline Norwegian has said it will launch ultra-low cost flights for as little at £56 to New York as it ramps up the pressure on its rivals.