Safety trials for new and efficient anti-malarial compounds are on the way.
Researchers have found a compound which can eliminate malaria in a period of a single day by identifying malaria infected red blood cells.
(+)- SJ733 is the compound which tricks the immune system of the human body to identify and eliminate infected RBCs while leaving the healthy ones intact in the blood. With this compound malaria can be treated within a total of twenty four hours. The parasite was found to be undetectable after 48 hours.
Malaria is an infectious disease which is caused by a parasite called Plasmodium. It has four species that are well known to cause human infections namely P. falciparum, P. ovale, P. vivax and P. mlariae. Malaria is spread through the bite of a female mosquito of a certain kind namely Anopheles. After ten to fifteen days of the bite of the infected female saliva the symptoms appear which are fever, vomiting, fatigue and headache. This is called as uncomplicated malaria. In severe malaria the symptoms include low conscious levels, seizures, low blood sugar (<40 mg/dl), difficult breathing, coma and even death.
Malaria is particularly characterized by cold, shivering, high grade fever and sweating.
It is a very common disease of the South America, Asia and Africa. Prevention can be done by draining stagnant pools of water, using mosquito nets, insecticides and insect repellents. It was estimated by the World Health Organization that in 2012 there were 207 million cases of malaria.
Current treatment for malaria includes an artemisinin. Quinine and doxycyclines can be used in place of artemisinin. Second drug can either be a mefloquinine or a lumefantrine. Sulfadoxine/pyrimethamine are also part of the anti-malarial drugs.
One of the biggest problems with the current treatment is drug resistance. In areas where malaria is common unnecessary exposure to anti-malarial drugs is avoided to prevent resistance.
The new and efficient compound and similar compounds are now being considered to be added to the global malaria eradication campaigns. Researchers say the goal is to develop an affordable and fast acting combination of medications that can treat malaria in a single dose. It is also important that the mechanism the new drugs act by should be less susceptible for the parasite to develop resistance against it.