A promising compound can quickly eliminate malaria parasites

A promising compound can quickly eliminate malaria parasites
A promising compound can quickly eliminate malaria parasites

Malaria is a potentially deadly disease of monumental proportions across the world. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital reported a promising compound rapidly eliminates the malaria parasite. It has been determined by an international research collaborative that a promising anti-malarial compound can trick the immune system into rapidly destroying red blood cells which are infected with the malaria parasite while leaving the healthy cells unharmed.

The compound is known as (+)-SJ733. This agent was developed from a molecule which was identified in a previous St. Jude-led study which helped to spark off anti-malarial drug development initiatives across the world. Malaria is caused by a parasite which is spread via the bite of a mosquito which is infected. This disease is a major health threat to greater than half the world’s population, particularly kids. It has been estimated by the World Health Organization that in Africa a child dies of
malaria every single minute.

In this research in a mouse model of malaria one dose of (+)-SJ733 killed 80 percent of malaria parasites within just 24 hours. The parasite was undetectable after 48 hours. Safety trials of the compound are being planned in healthy adults. It has been suggested by laboratory evidence that the compound’s speed and mode of action work with each other to slow and suppress development of drug-resistant forms of the parasites. Efforts to treat and block malaria transmission have often been undermined by drug resistance.

This study has been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). R. Kiplin Guy, Ph.D., chair of the St. Jude Department of Chemical Biology and Therapeutics, has said
the goal of his research team is to develop an affordable, fast-acting combination therapy which can cure malaria with just one dose. Guy sees SJ733 and other compounds which act in a similar fashion as being highly attractive additions to international malaria eradication initiatives. If this works in people it could save a lot of lives and would particularly mean a great deal to children wordwide who are primary targets of malaria.


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