A drug being used in Australia to treat malaria sufferer drug resistance could help millions of people.
Key points:The drug could be used by people suffering from malaria to reduce their risk of infectionThe drug, called BACT2, has been tested in mice and is the first to be tested in humans for malaria treatmentThe drug works in a similar way to malaria-fighting drugs such as amoxicillin, which has been used in the treatment of malaria for many yearsHowever, the drug is a little more complex than its predecessors, which are known to work by reducing the risk of malaria.
Dr Michael Pinto from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, a research agency at the University of Queensland, said BACTS2 was the first drug to be used to treat people with malaria who are resistant to amoxicillins.
“We believe that the drug will provide an effective means of reducing malaria infection risk by a factor of two to three, if used at doses that target the gene that is responsible for resistance, and if it works, that could potentially reduce the lifetime malaria infection rate in the population,” he said.
The drug has been developed by a team of researchers from the University at Albany, the University College London, the National Institutes of Health, the UK Department of Health and Human Services and the Australian Defence Force.
It works by reducing a gene in the malaria parasite called MCP-1 that is thought to be responsible for causing the resistance to amoxicillin, a drug currently being used to prevent malaria.
The team was able to develop the drug by targeting the gene in mice using a drug called AMPK inhibitor-1.
Dr Pinto said that while it was not yet clear whether the drug could treat people who are at high risk of being infected, it was a “first step” towards that goal.
“There are several potential therapeutic targets in mice, and we’re looking at some of the things that we might try to do in people,” he told RN.ABC/ReutersTopics:health,medical-research,australia,antibiotics-and-pharmaceuticals,parasitic-infections,malaria,aurelia-7000,london-7001,southern-london,newcastle-2300,sydney-2000,southport-4215,liverpool-7012,nsw,aurnia-5715,warrington-7010,warwick-7100,dunedin-7011,syddea-7013,aestivation-2021More stories from New South Wales