The new drug appears to have no side effects.
An anti-malaria drug developed in New Zealand has passed its first pre-clinical test, raising hopes for the more than one million people killed by the disease each year.
The experimental drug, first synthesised by Industrial Research Limited, a Crown research institute, targets the parasite responsible for malaria, a mosquito-borne, infectious disease that manifests in severe shivering and can result in coma and death. Pregnant women are among the most vulnerable, and children can suffer brain damage from anaemia as parasites overwhelm their red blood cells.
There is no long-term vaccine for the disease, and parasites – which harvest the host’s DNA because they don’t have their own – can become resistant to treatments, says Dr Gary Evans, the principal scientist of IRL’s Carbohydrate Chemistry Group. But early efficacy trials have shown that the new compound blocks the enzyme used to harvest DNA, clearing the parasite within seven days.
“The best drug currently available takes three days to work, which is too long to monitor the effects on patients who often move around,” Evans said. “We want a drug where we can watch them being treated and know they’re cured.”
The new drug, which appears to have no side effects, has been five years in the making, with Evans involved from day one.
via Stuff.co.nz – MICHELLE ROBINSON ᔥ
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