“Our goal is to develop an affordable, fast-acting combination therapy that cures malaria with a single dose,” says R. Kiplin Guy of the St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital – and they sure did; his research team successfully developed a new malaria drug that kills malaria parasites within 48 hours with a single dose.
This new malaria drug deceives the body’s immune system into killing 80% of malaria parasites within 24 hours, and within 48 hours – all traces of malaria parasites becomes untraceable and undetectable. To better achieve its purpose, the drug triggers the immune system to attack red blood cells that have become infected with malaria parasites – but it doesn’t attack healthy or uninfected body cells.
Called the (+)-SJ733, the malaria drug was developed from molecules engineered by molecular scientists from top medical institutions.
“The data suggest that compounds targeting ATP4 induce physical changes in the infected red blood cells that allow the immune system or erythrocyte quality control mechanisms to recognize and rapidly eliminate infected cells,” said co-author Joseph DeRisi, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator.
DeRisi also added that “This rapid clearance response depends on the presence of both the parasite and the investigational drug. That is important because it leaves uninfected red blood cells, also known as erythrocytes, unharmed.”
With tests successfully carried out in lab mice, the researchers might soon commence clinical trials on human patients. However, since the drug has the ability to inhibit the actions of ATP4 protein in plasmodium falciparum – the deadliest malaria parasites, the body’s immune system is galvanized into destroying malaria-infected red blood cells without in the most organic manner.
The researchers had published the results of this study in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).