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 enjoys writing on various topics including science & medicine, global health, and conservation biology. She hopes through her writing she can make science more engaging and communicable to the general public.
You May Also Like
JUL 11, 2018
Drug Discovery
JUL 11, 2018
'Acetazolamide' Used To Treat Altitude Sickness, Slows Down the Development of Glioblastoma
    Acetazolamide, which is sold under the trade name Diamox and used to treat altitude sickness, is considered inexpensive to manufacture and ea...
AUG 20, 2018
Drug Discovery
AUG 20, 2018
Drug Seeks To Prevent a Painful Side-Effect
Many patients with head, neck, nasal, and oral cancers are treated with radiations. Unfortunately, such treatment leaves patients with a painful side-effec...
AUG 21, 2018
Drug Discovery
AUG 21, 2018
Genetic Regulators of Regeneration Bring Hope for Drug Discovery
Portions of DNA that do not seem to have a function are referred to as “junk”. Now, according to a study published in Regenerative Medicine, re...
SEP 02, 2018
Genetics & Genomics
SEP 02, 2018
Insights From the Opium Poppy Genome
By sequencing the opium poppy's DNA, scientists have revealed important details about how it makes its medicine....
SEP 08, 2018
Drug Discovery
SEP 08, 2018
Protein Associated With ALS Inspires Drug Treatments
Neurodegenerative diseases, such as degenerative ataxia or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), will progressively cause an affected individual to develop ...
SEP 23, 2018
Cell & Molecular Biology
SEP 23, 2018
Insulin may be a new Colitis Treatment
Insulin is a necessary medicine for diabetics, but new work shows that insulin may also be used to treat chronic bowel inflammation....
Loading Comments...