Researchers Started Working On A Universal Remedy Against Malaria
Walter and Eliza Hall Institute scientists are developing a compound inhibiting the activity of an enzyme necessary for the survival of the malaria parasite. Compound is called WEHI-916. This is the 1st step towards a new class of antimalarial drugs. Drugs will both treat and prevent infection caused by all types of parasites, including resistant ones.
So, WEHI-916 blocks an important enzyme for parasites plasmepsin V. Compound controls the transportation of key proteins. If the enzyme is blocked, the parasite dies. Parasites need to produce and bring more than 300 different proteins into red blood cells. This allows them to survive and hide from the immune system.
Since drug blocks all proteins at a time, it can work against all types of parasites. Parasite Plasmodium falciparum causes a big share of deaths in Africa, and Plasmodium vivax predominates in the Asia-Pacific region. The drug is shown to be effective against these two parasites.
Scientists hope that the drug will affect the parasite in all stages of its development. This enzyme is found in the parasite when it only penetrates the liver and when it leaves the body by transmitting to the mosquito. If medication can kill the parasite during these stages, it will be possible to stop the malaria epidemic. This means that it has preventive features.