Thursday, September 9, 2010

A New Hope Against Drug-Resistant Malaria

While you read this, every 30 seconds a child's life ends... a little one dies of malaria.

Malaria is an historic scourge, and the fight against it has been one of humanity's longest battles with disease. The mosquito-borne disease is ancient. Alexander the Great is said to have died of it. Along with countless others.

Even today, 247 million human cases of malaria worldwide are recorded annually. WHO (World Health Organization), says that 1 million humans die, and most are African children.

Yes, children seem to be its favorite victims. They are the most vulnerable. In Africa, malaria kills a child every 45 seconds!

This can be prevented with mosquito nets, but they cost money. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundations, among others, has joined this fight.

But in this age of high-tech and innovation, what about new drugs? Well, there is hopeful news.

Scientists say they have developed an antimalarial candidate, called spiroindolone NITD609--- it brings a new strategy to treat drug resistant malaria.

The new antimalarial drug utilizes a novel mechanism for clearing a Plasmodium (malaria parasite) infection, even after a single dose, in mice. Testing is set to begin on human subjects soon.

Spiroindolone NITD609 seems to be effective against both Plasmodium (P.) falciparum and P. vivax - two malaria parasite strains.

Mark Fishman, president, Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research, said: "Malaria remains a scourge. The parasite has demonstrated a frustrating ability to outwit new medicines, from quinine to today's unsettling increased tolerance to artemisinin derivatives. We are delighted that our scientists could provide this potential new malaria therapy, based on an unprecedented chemical structure and directed to a novel target."

People have no chance in life, with Malaria. Malaria thrives on poverty, as well as causing it. The syndrome is vicious and lethal.

Hopefully, this new anti-Malarial drug will begin the end of this ancient nightmare.


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