Malaria was to a large extent was controlled in the sixties and the early seventies but has thereafter returned with renewed gusto. Worse the latest varieties of Malaria are chloroquine resistant. This has made the goal of eliminating Malaria like the small pox a distant and utopian dream. According to the WHO, one child in Africa dies every minute due to malaria.
However all this can become history if a promising new drug is successful in treating the scourge of the 21st century. The promising new compound is the collaborative effort of an international research endeavor. The promising anti-malarial compound tricks the immune system to rapidly destroy RBC infected with malaria and leaves the healthy RBC intact. The compound achieves all this in less than 48 hours.
A study which was spearheaded by the scientist of the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital found that the compound (+)-SJ733 recruited the immune system to eliminate malaria infected RBC’s while it left the normal RBC intact. The compound was first trite on a mouse and it was found that 80 percent of malaria parasites were eliminated within 24 hours. No malaria parasite was detected in blood after 48 hours. The planning for the safety trials is in process to test the drug on healthy adults.
Malaria remains to date a major health issue around the globe particularly in African and South Asian nations. Malaria is spread by the bite of the Female Anopheles mosquito.
R. Kiplin Guy, Ph.D., chair of the St. Jude Department of Chemical Biology and Therapeutics and the corresponding author of the study said, “Our goal is to develop an affordable, fast-acting combination therapy that cures malaria with a single dose. These results indicate that SJ733 and other compounds that act in a similar fashion are highly attractive additions to the global malaria eradication campaign, which would mean so much for the world’s children, who are central to the mission of St. Jude.”