Malaria parasite take a toll on human life every year, especially in Africa, looks like researchers have finally found a solution to it.
The biggest problem fighting this infection is posed by Plasmodium falciparum, a malaria parasite, which has become increasingly resistant to the main anti-malarial drugs.
‘Oxaboroles were found to have potent activity both against cultured malaria parasites, and in an animal model of malaria.’
However according to a new research it has been established that some members of a class of compounds called oxaboroles, which contain the element, boron, have potent activity against malaria parasites.
"We demonstrated that certain oxaboroles, selected from a large library produced by collaborating chemists, had potent activity both against cultured malaria parasites, and in an animal model of malaria," said Philip Rosenthal, of the University of California, San Francisco.
Additionally, the researchers gained insight into the mechanism of action of the compounds, knowledge that could be important for refining new antimalarial drugs based on oxaboroles, said Rosenthal.
"New antimalarial drugs, ideally directed against novel targets, are greatly needed," he added. As for the resistance to oxaboroles that developed in the lab, Rosenthal said that it did not mean that resistance would develop under clinical conditions too.
He added that in malaria, as in the case of other dangerous diseases, such as HIV infection and tuberculosis, usually more than one drug is given to patients, which makes it much harder for the pathogen to develop resistance. Although the research is an important first step, the investigators noted in their paper that developing antimalarials is particularly challenging.
Oxaboroles appear promising on all counts. Among other things, safety of the general class has been demonstrated even in human trials of class members, though for purposes other than as antimalarials.
Oxaboroles are also not difficult to synthesize, which would make them relatively inexpensive. Nonetheless, no drug is ever a sure bet at this stage of development, and in the best case, a number of years will pass between the present, and approval of a new drug for malaria. But the potential prize is mitigation of untold misery.
This study has been published in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy.