In mice, the drug removed all traces of malaria within 48 hours.
A new study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), introduces a promising new treatment for malaria. The new compounds show an ability to slow and suppress the malaria infection before drug resistance develops. Researchers conclude that the new compounds could be the foundation for a drug that would be critical to the global campaign to eradicate malaria.
This study used a mouse model to test its ability to combat malaria. According to Medical News Today, researchers found that the compound essentially tricks the host immune system into destroying only infected red blood cells while leaving healthy ones alone. Speedy treatment is essential to combating malaria because the body must fight the parasite before it can become resistant to the drug.
Effective and speedy treatment was the major achievement of this new compound. In mice, the drug removed all traces of malaria within 48 hours. The drug works by disrupting the internal sodium balance of the malaria parasite. This type of mechanism to attack malaria was previously unknown. It is likely that other compounds with a similar mechanism of action could also be developed, furthering the fight against malaria.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), malaria is a mosquito-borne disease that is caused by a parasite. Symptoms of malaria generally include fever, chills, and flu-like illness. While treatable, untreated malaria can result in severe complications and death. There are an estimated 219 million cases of malaria annually around the world. Of these, about 660,000 people died, with more than 90 percent of cases occurring in the African Region.