New single-dose antimalaria compound is effective in mice and resistance resistant

malaria
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

A large international team of researchers has found a small molecule compound that has proven to be effective in treating malaria in mice. In their paper published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, the group notes that testing thus far shows that the parasite behind malarial infections (Plasmodium falciparum) also has difficulty in developing resistance to the compound.

As the researchers on this new effort note, prior work by many groups around the world led to a dramatic drop in both infections and deaths from malaria over the years 2000 to 2015, But since 2016, the infection rate has plateaued as the that cause malaria have developed resistance to the drugs developed to kill them. This has led researchers to consider antimalarials that kill the parasite through other mechanisms.

In this new effort, the researchers took a different approach from the usual screening method. Instead, they began their search by focusing on a small number of compounds that are currently produced by drugmakers. More specifically, they began by looking at 800 compounds made by French pharmaceutical company Sanofi that are known to work against human targets, such as cells in cancerous tumors. Such an approach was chosen, they note, because they assumed that one or more of the might target cells needed by malaria parasites.

The researchers then undertook an exhaustive screening process that involved exposing the malaria parasite to each compound they had included in the study and watching to see if it would be killed. Their effort paid off. They found a compound called MMV688533 that killed the parasite. They then modified the compound to make it more soluble and to help it get into the when introduced as a single-dose pill.

In testing the compound, the researchers found it effective in treating malaria in mice with one single oral dose, fast acting, and effective at killing P. falciparum. Further testing that involved giving infected mice doses multiple times over an extended period showed that the parasite had difficulty in developing resistance to the compound—and when it finally did, a higher dose killed it anyway.

More testing of the compound will need to be done to prove the compound safe for general use against . It is currently being tested in a Phase 1 clinical trial in Australia.


Explore further

Scientists design new drug compound to stop malaria in its tracks

More information: James M. Murithi et al, The antimalarial MMV688533 provides potential for single-dose cures with a high barrier to Plasmodium falciparum parasite resistance, Science Translational Medicine (2021). DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.abg6013
Journal information: Science Translational Medicine

© 2021 Science X Network

Citation: New single-dose antimalaria compound is effective in mice and resistance resistant (2021, July 22) retrieved 29 July 2021 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-07-single-dose-antimalaria-compound-effective-mice.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
123 shares

Feedback to editors

User comments