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‘Breakthrough’ drug could help eradicate malaria

The international research was led by a team at the University of Glasgow.

Malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease that affects more than 200 million people (University of Glasgow/PA)
Malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease that affects more than 200 million people (University of Glasgow/PA)

By Conor Riordan, PA Scotland

A new drug that could prevent the spread of malaria has been developed after “breakthrough” research.

The medicine, delivered by an international team of scientists led by the University of Glasgow, could also be used to treat people suffering with the deadly parasitic disease.

Malaria – a mosquito-borne infection – affects more than 200 million people and kills nearly 500,000 every year, most of whom are children.

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Andrew Tobin, professor of molecular pharmacology, led the study (University of Glasgow)

The new drug can kill the parasite at all three stages of its life cycle – when it is in the liver and red blood cells, as well as preventing sexual development of the parasite.

Andrew Tobin, professor of molecular pharmacology at the University of Glasgow, said: “We are tremendously excited about these new findings and hope they pave the way for the first step in the eradication of malaria.

“Our work has shown that by killing the parasites at the various stages of parasite development, we have not only discovered a potential cure for malaria but also a way of stopping the spread of malaria from person to mosquito, which can then infect other people.”

Malaria is caused by a parasite that infects humans through the bite of a mosquito, which then grows in the liver and red blood cells.

Scientists said the new drug works by stopping the activity of a protein involved in keeping the parasite alive.

By blocking this, the medicine could effectively kill off the malaria organism, which prevents it spreading, and also holds the possibility of treating the disease.

PA

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