Latest One Dollar Drug Combats Malaria

A new drug titled ‘DDD107498’, has just been developed by the University of Dundee’s Drug Discovery Unit and it targets drug-resistant malaria. Single doses of the drug are available at just $1 – in contrast to its more expensive counterparts Novartis and Sanofi – making it affordable for even those living in poverty, like the sub-saharan Africa.

The study was highlighted in the journal Nature on Wednesday, showing the efficacy of the drug through trials conducted on live mice and even human blood, in the laboratory. The said drug has been produced by the University of Dundee’s Drug Discovery Unit, in collaboration with the non-profit Medicines for Malaria Venture.

Mode of action: The new drug attacks the malarial strain differently from other drugs. It does so by focusing on the part that makes proteins within the parasite, which makes it effective against current drug-resistant disease. The scientists reported that cases of malaria with total resistance to the drug has already been observed in Myanmar and spread close to the Indian border as well. The only possible answer to treat this drug-resistant disease is an altogether new drug compound.

However, despite the low cost, the commercial availability of the anti-malarial drug will take a couple of years and is possible only after further clinical trials to confirm its safety for administration to humans. Most drugs are rejected or not found suitbale during clinical trials.

If the drug makes it through the clinical trials, the German drug maker Merck KgAA has already expressed its willingness to develop and commercialize the compound.

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