Researchers Find Drugs That May Block Malarial Transmission
By Sakeena Tan | Health & Medicine
June 26, 2012
Scientists at the Queensland Institute of Medical Research have identified a new treatment that may be useful in blocking malarial transmission.
AsianScientist (Jun. 26, 2012) – Scientists at the Queensland Institute of Medical Research have identified a new treatment that may be useful in blocking malarial transmission.
The Queensland Institute of Medical Research (QIMR) team, in conjunction with Griffith University, designed a technique to screen a large library of existing compounds, to see whether any had the potential to block malarial transmission from humans to mosquitoes.
According to the World Health Organization, 250 million malaria cases occur each year, and a child dies from the disease every 30 seconds.
The contraction of malaria in humans is caused by protozoan parasites, spread from person to person by mosquitoes as biological vectors for the disease. The newly designed technique screens for any potential transmission blockers that would break the cycle of the devastating disease, which kills up to a million people each year.
10, 000 substances were initially screened, resulting in the identification of six strong “hits” – which was inclusive of some drugs already on the market.
“It’s a significant step forward for work into more transmission blocking anti-malarial drugs,” said Associate Professor Don Gardiner, Head of QIMR’s Malaria Biology Laboratory.
“The problem with the only existing drug for blocking transmission in malaria – Primaquine – is that it’s toxic in 25 percent of affected populations. We’re hopeful that of the six compounds we’ve identified so far, toxicity won’t be an issue, and some may be even more effective at blocking transmission than the existing drug. In addition these compounds could conceivably prevent relapses of the disease,” he added.
The research team is now furthering investigation of the compounds to determine whether they are suitable for drug development. The screening was conducted in conjunction with the Scripps Research Institute in Florida.
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