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NIH-Sponsored Research Yields Promising Malaria Drug Candidate

Posted Sep 05 2010 7:12pm

A chemical that rid mice of malaria-causing parasites after a single oral dose may eventually become a new malaria drug if further tests in animals and people uphold the promise of early findings. The compound, NITD609, was developed by an international team of researchers including Elizabeth A. Winzeler, Ph.D., a grantee of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health.

“Although significant progress has been made in controlling malaria, the disease still kills nearly 1 million people every year, mostly infants and young children,” says NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D. “It has been more than a decade since the last new class of antimalarials — artemisinins — began to be widely used throughout the world. The rise of drug-resistant malaria parasites further underscores the need for novel malaria therapies.”

Dr. Fauci adds, “The compound developed and tested by Dr. Winzeler and her colleagues appears to target a parasite protein not attacked by any existing malaria drug, and has several other desirable features. This research is also a notable example of successful collaboration between government-supported scientists and private sector researchers.”

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