Researchers are working on a new compound against malaria. This new “weapon” called SJ733 will effectively kill malaria in 48 hours.
Scientists encountered difficulties in the development of efficient drugs against malaria. This disease becomes highly resistant to new drugs very fast and experts must move quickly in the development of an effective treatment.
Malaria develops when mosquitoes, which are carriers of the Plasmodium parasite, bite a person. After being bitten this parasite installs itself in the bloodstream attacking the hosts red blood cells.
According to studies by the World Health Organization, malaria killed almost 627.000 people in 2012 most of them being children under the age of 5 from southern Africa.
In a recent study experts have used a new drug called SJ733 which is developed from an identical compound used in a previous study. It is said that the new drug targets only infected red blood cells in the human body and leaves the healthy ones intact.
After conducting several tests regarding the deadliest malaria parasite species, Plasmodium falciparum, researchers discovered that the new compound SJ733 interrupts the parasite’s ATP4 protein activity. This malaria parasite feeds on the sodium from red blood cells with the help of this ATP4 protein.
This study was conducted on mice and experts reported that only one administration of the SJ733 compound destroyed 80 percent of the parasites in just 24 hours and 48 hours after the administration of one dose of the new drug, the parasite was completely gone.
The author of the study, Dr. R. Kiplin Guy leading the St. Jude Department of Chemical Biology and Therapeutics, said that the purpose of the study the development of a effective and affordable drug that can destroy this disease with just one dose.
Even more, the study shows that the new drug used decreases the parasite’s resistance to drugs. Several organizations involved themselves in offering grants supporting the study, from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute to the National Institute of Health and even the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council.
Furthermore, other studies revealed that the bacteria called Escherichia coli, also known as E-coli, that can be found in the gut can also fight off malaria parasites. This bacteria is known to produce antibodies that fight infections. The study was conducted by Medical News Today.
While the study which was conducted on mice showed significant progress, experts plan to start clinical trials of this new drug on human adults.