Just a single dose of a new drug has shown promise to treat malaria, says researchers from U.S. and Australia who discovered the compound.The drug is still under trials and can be used as an effective preventive therapy as well. In addition, scientists say that the drug has multiple usage and can be used with several other compounds.
The new drug named DSM265 can be a revelation in curing the vector-borne disease that is caused by Anopheles mosquito which kills more than 6,00,000 people in the world says, Dr. Margaret Phillips, Professor of Pharmacology at Southwestern. While explaining researchers said that the revolutionary kills malaria parasite — Plasmodium present in the blood and liver. Moreover, preclinical trials have shown promising results, but more tests are needed to prove the authenticity of the compound and to check for any side effects.
Currently, doctors use artemisinin-based medicines to treat malaria or ACTs that helps in shrinking load of malaria on the body. However, in the previous studies it was noted that malaria has mutated and adapted itself to ACTs in several regions including Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar, Vietnam and Laos.
Dr. Philips along with her team that includes an Indian-origin researcher Pradipsinh Rathod from the University of Washington, discovered that Plasmodium needs an enzyme named Dihydroorotate dehydrogenase (DHODH) to duplicate and expand during infection in human body. To counter DHODH, researchers developed DSM265.
Dr. Philips said that the DSM265 can be used in two different ways. Firstly, it can be used in combination with other drugs that will be consumed by the victim as a single dose. Secondly, the drug can also be used to prevent malaria for those who lives in malaria-prone areas like India.
Researchers have conducted two trials of the drug– frist in Australia and second in Peru and found that the drug is effective in treating the disease. However, more trials are scheduled by the teams which will also test the drug as a preventive remedy. If drug successfully clears further trials then it might save nearly half a million of people across the globe which die due to malaria every year.
The study appeared in the journal Science Translational Medicine.