SEP 18, 2018 11:45 PM PDT

Compound Prevents Malaria Transmission in Mosquitoes

WRITTEN BY: Nouran Amin

Image Credit: Sabrina Yahiya, Image via ScienceDaily

In a publication in Nature Communications, scientists from the Imperial College London have recently screened 70,000 compounds and were able to find just 6 of these compounds that are capable of stopping the spread of malaria by preventing parasites from infected mosquitoes. The prevention of malaria transmission is crucial to disease elimination, this is because an infected individual may be cured from malaria through therapeutic drug use, however, may continue to carry the dormant—sexual form that can continues transmission. "Current antimalarial drugs can cure a person of the disease, but that person is still infectious to mosquitoes, and can therefore still cause someone else to become infected,” explains Professor Jake Baum, from the Department of Life Sciences at Imperial. "What we propose is antimalarial drugs that protect mosquitoes, blocking the parasites from continuing their infectious journey. By combining such a drug with a conventional antimalarial, we not only cure the individual person but protect the community as well.

Learn more about Malaria:

"At the level of the individual person, fighting malaria is a constant battle as parasites become resistant to antimalarial drugs. Since transmission occurs in the mosquito, drugs targeting this process have the added benefit of being naturally much more resistance-proof, which could be essential for eliminating malaria,” says Baum.

One of the identified compounds had already demonstrated the ability to block parasite transmission from mice. Researchers are now investigating all other compounds further to determine the mechanisms of how the compounds works, and if such understanding could evolve into future therapeutics.

The malaria parasite make particular good drug targets because of its sexual life cycle. If researchers are able to use these compounds to disrupt sexual parasites, then they need to mimic the internal conditions of a mosquito. Surprisingly, they found that miniaturizing the process of mosquito conditions (in order for a microscopic examination) allowed them to screen the compounds and to analyze its effects on active sexual parasites. "It took several years to find the right conditions that would stimulate the sexual parasites and to miniaturize the environment, but it was worth it -- at our best we were screening 14,000 compounds a week,” Baum said. "Overall we screened around 70,000 molecules and found only a handful of potent compounds that are both active and safe to use with human cells. It was like finding needles in a haystack."

Source: Imperial College London

About the Author
  • Nouran is a scientist, educator, and life-long learner with a passion for making science more communicable. When not busy in the lab isolating blood macrophages, she enjoys writing on various STEM topics.
You May Also Like
MAR 02, 2021
Immunology
Another Trick up Tumors' Sleeves Exposed
MAR 02, 2021
Another Trick up Tumors' Sleeves Exposed
Tumors have sneaky strategies for establishing themselves within healthy tissues, flourishing in plain sight of circulat ...
MAR 04, 2021
Infographics
All You Need to Know about COVID-19 Vaccines
MAR 04, 2021
All You Need to Know about COVID-19 Vaccines
After over a year lockdowns brought on by the pandemic, hopes for returning to something even similar to ' ...
APR 01, 2021
Microbiology
Mapping the Wild Microbiome to Search for Therapeutic Agents
APR 01, 2021
Mapping the Wild Microbiome to Search for Therapeutic Agents
Many people think of bacteria as disgusting germs, but there are plenty of important bacterial species that provide us w ...
MAY 12, 2021
Cardiology
Reversing the Heart Damage Seen in Marfan Syndrome
MAY 12, 2021
Reversing the Heart Damage Seen in Marfan Syndrome
Marfan syndrome is a genetic disorder that disrupts the connective tissues that anchor and link the body's organs, affec ...
MAY 17, 2021
Immunology
Understanding Inflammation: A Faster, Easier Way to Detect Cytokines in Cells
MAY 17, 2021
Understanding Inflammation: A Faster, Easier Way to Detect Cytokines in Cells
Inflammation, a process that was meant to defend our body from infection, has been found to contribute to a wide range o ...
JUN 10, 2021
Cell & Molecular Biology
Does Lithium Prevent Colon Cancer?
JUN 10, 2021
Does Lithium Prevent Colon Cancer?
Researchers found that a drug used in the treatment of mental illness can promote the fitness of healthy gut stem cells, ...
Loading Comments...