Team makes malaria breakthrough

06 April 2012 09:13

Scientists have created a compound that prevents the parasite that causes malaria from growing

Scientists have created a compound that prevents the parasite that causes malaria from growing

The fight against malaria has taken another step in the right direction with the news that scientists have developed a drug capable of stemming the growth of the parasite behind the disease.

The research was led by Nobel laureate Sidney Altman, who followed up the work of a Yale immunobiology professor who discovered that a basic peptide can penetrate call walls and membranes.

The growth of the disease-carrying parasite is stunted by the new drug, which penetrates blood cells. The drug will now be tested by experts ahead of any decision on its use.

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Prof Altman said: "While we primarily looked at one species of parasite, it is clear the compound also knocks out drug-resistant strains of malaria as well.

"This compound can wipe out strains that are currently resistant to drugs such as chloroquine and pyrimethamine."

The results were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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