New drug could cure malaria in one dose

New drug could cure malaria in one dose

6:06 AM, 1st April 2015
New drug could cure malaria in one dose
The new antimalarial drug - Triaminopyrimidine - comes with many advantages over existing drugs.

BENGALURU, INDIA: Three scientists from Bengaluru, India who led a team of global researchers looking for an antimalarial drug, have found a fast-killing solution. After completing some tests, it’ll go in for clinical trials on humans. This drug has the potential to cure the dreaded disease in one dose makes it more attractive to healthcare providers.

The solution — Triaminopyrimidine (TAP) — comes with many advantages over existing drugs. “It’s a fast-killing and long-acting antimalarial clinical candidate. TAP acts exclusively on the blood stage of Plasmodium falciparum (the stage responsible for clinical symptoms) in a relevant mouse model. This candidate is equally active against causative agent Plasmodium vivax. The compound has shown good safety margins in guinea pigs and rats. With a predicted half-life of 36 hours in humans, TAP offers potential for a single dose combination,” said Vasan Sambandamurthy, one of the senior authors of the research paper.

The rapid spread of Plasmodium falciparum, the parasite which causes malaria in humans, has left nations battling it with a weakened arsenal and coping with thousands of deaths every year. This parasite has gradually become resistant to available medication.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that 3.2 billion people in 97 countries, including India, are at risk of being infected with malaria. Every person infected with malaria has to deal with millions of parasites and existing drugs have a limited effect in humans. “The half-life, which isn’t more than 2 hours, means it allows parasites to bounce back. Existing drugs are not fast-killing, which means that not only does a human need more doses but each dose is capable of only killing a few parasites. Besides, a potential side-effect of existing drugs is liver damage. This doesn’t happen all the time, but the possibility does exist. Also, the parasites have become resistant to these drugs. With TAP, there are now known side-effects and the parasites are unable to develop resistance at the same pace as they do for existing drugs,” said Sambandamurthy.

TAP was discovered by a team at pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca. “The main research happened in its R&D centre in Bengaluru between 2011 and Fukuoka2014, which has since been shut down. It took us three years of rigorous work by teams across the globe. Today, we confidently nominate TAPs as a clinical candidate to treat drug-resistant malaria,” said Sambandamurthy. Shahul Hameed and Suresh Solapure were the two other team leaders.

The discovery of a malaria drug, yet again, highlights Bengaluru’s leadership in scientific research. The promise that the new medicine can kill the virus in a single stroke and act for a long time is good news for malaria patients. While the scientists deserve compliments on working towards a remedy free of side-effects, the companies that will eventually mass produce the drug should look at making it affordable to the common people.


© TimesOfIndia News 



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