Striving toward malaria eradication: development of a single drug to kill malaria parasites and the mosquitoes that transmit them
|Collections||Collaboration across boundaries : a cross-disciplinary conference (2017)|
|Title:||Striving toward malaria eradication: development of a single drug to kill malaria parasites and the mosquitoes that transmit them|
|Publisher:||Canberra, ACT : NECTAR, The Australian National University|
Malaria is a lethal infectious disease caused by a parasite transmitted between humans by mosquitoes. In 2015 alone, there were 429,000 malaria deaths worldwide. Currently, malaria control predominantly relies on (I) reducing human contact with mosquitoes, e.g. through use of insecticide-treated mosquito nets; and (ii) antimalarial drugs that kill parasites within an infected person. However, as malaria parasites have become resistant to all antimalarial drugs in clinical use, and insecticide-resistant mosquitoes are widespread, our ability to treat and limit the spread of malaria is under serious threat. Striving to find a novel malaria control tool, I have identified a naturally-occurring chemical that kills both malaria parasites and the mosquitoes that transmit them. The chemical acts rapidly to kill malaria parasites while they multiply in human blood, and mosquitoes that have fed on blood containing it. To exploit this dual-activity, I am working toward developing a drug that will cure an infected patient of malaria, as well as kill mosquitoes that feed on that person, thereby preventing transmission of the parasite to healthy individuals. Such a drug would be an invaluable addition to our malaria control toolkit and an ideal candidate for a mass drug administration campaign targeted at malaria eradication.
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