Research Highlight

Oral tablets for leishmaniasis

doi:10.1038/nindia.2019.117 Published online 3 September 2019

Left: Anti-fungal activity of the oral tablet after a week. Right: control without the tablet showing proliferation of a fungal colony.

Laha, A. et al.

Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology, Hyderabad, report1 development of ‘controlled- release oral tablets’ containing Amphotericin-B (Am-B) for better and faster treatment of visceral leishmaniasis, locally known as Kala-azar, caused by the bite of sandfly.

Am-B has been the drug of choice for treating this fatal disease prevalent in parts of India. But currently, leishmaniasis patients are treated with injections, leading to uncontrolled release of the drug into the bloodstream that eventually results in high toxicity. The researchers say their tablets, made of gelatine nanofibres and loaded with Am-B, release the drug in a sustained manner over a period of 10 days, increasing the chances of the patient’s recovery. According to the researchers, nanofibres are ideal medium for controlled release of drug molecules because of their large surface area and porosity.

The researchers, led by Saptarshi Majumdar and Chandra Shekhar Sharma, of IIT Hyderabad's Creative and Advanced Research Based On Nanomaterials (CARBON) Laboratory,  loaded AmB molecules onto a nontoxic, biocompatible gelatin base that gradually dissolves to release the drug over a period of time. Next, they electrospun the homogeneous solution of gelatin-AmB into nanofibers made 500 mg tablets, each containing 20 mg of AmB, by cross linking and compressing the fibres.

The study paves the way for a safe, yet effective oral administration of AmB while still maintaining the therapeutic efficacy, their report says. The team found the tablets to be stable over a wide range of pH, meaning it doesn’t get destroyed in the gastrointestinal track before the drug is absorbed into the blood stream.


1. Laha, A. et al. Compressed nanofibrous oral tablets: An ingenious way for controlled release kinetics of Amphotericin-B loaded gelatin nanofibers. Nano-Structures Nano-Objects 19 (2019) doi: 10.1016/j.nanoso.2019.100367