A new long-duration drug with broad activity against malaria parasites
24 July 2015
Malaria continues to kill up to 580.000 people each year, the majority being children under 5 years old. An effective vaccine is still lacking, and therefore efforts to combat the disease focus on insecticide-treated bed nets and drugs. Unfortunately, these efforts are threatened by emerging resistance of the parasite to current therapies.
To reduce the potential emergence of resistance, new therapies are being developed as combination treatments. In a worldwide collaborative effort, a group of malaria researchers identified and analysed the characteristics of a new drug (DSM265). The drug blocks the formation of nucleotides required for RNA and DNA synthesis. The researchers demonstrated that DSM265 is active against different malaria parasite forms in the blood and liver. BPRC scientists tested the compound in their in vitro assay (http://www.bprc.nl/en/article/a-new-method-for-testing-the-activity-of-drugs-against-dormant-malaria-parasites) and showed that the compound is effective against developing liver stage parasites, but not against dormant malaria parasites and therefore most likely it cannot be used against all human malaria parasites.