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New anti-malaria drug offers hope to millions
July 7, 2015, 3:42 pm
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A single shot of a new compound is all it takes to treat malaria and protect people from the disease and prevent its transmission, say researchers at Dundee University in Scotland who discovered the compound, DDD107498.

The antimalarial compound was developed through collaboration between the university's Drug Discovery Unit (DDU) and Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV), a Swiss-based, not-for-profit, public-private partnership.

Professor Ian Gilbert, Head of Chemistry at the Drug Discovery Unit, who led the team that discovered the compound, said,”DDD107498 has the potential to treat malaria with a single dose, prevent the spread of malaria from infected people, and protect a person from developing the disease in the first place… There is still some way to go before the compound can be given to patients. However we are very excited by the progress that we have made.”

“Malaria continues to threaten almost half of the world’s population – the half that can least afford it,” said Dr. David Reddy, MMV’s CEO. “DDD107498 is an exciting compound since it holds the promise to not only treat but also protect these vulnerable populations.”

Dr. Kevin Read, joint leader of the project, said, “New drugs are urgently needed to treat malaria, as resistance to the current gold-standard antimalarial drug is now considered a real threat. The compound we have discovered works in a different way to all other antimalarial medicines on the market or in clinical development, which means that it has great potential to work against current drug-resistant parasites.”

Details of the discovery were published in the journal Nature and the compound is now undergoing safety testing through MMV, with a view to entering human clinical trials within the next year.  The World Health Organization reported 200 million clinical cases of malaria in 2013, with 584,000 people dying from the mosquito-borne disease, most of them pregnant women or children under five.

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