Altering a class of drugs originally found to treat skin disease – psoriasis, can lead to the development of a new malaria drug. The latest research has shown that this drug is efficient against malaria parasites.
While its effectivity is specifically related to the malaria parasites that are resistant against currently available malaria drugs. The journal “Science Translational Medicine” has published aa paper representing this modified class of drug, on September 18, 2019.
Malaria parasites and pantothenamides
The researchers have altered a class of molecule – pantothenamides. Whereas, the purpose of the modification was to increase the stability of these molecules in humans. The team has found that in infected humans, this new compound can halt the replication of malaria parasites. And can also stop their transmission to mosquitoes.
Malaria is one of the major health concerns, all over the world. And annually, it accounts for about 216 million cases and nearly 400,000 deaths. The deadliest type of this disease is due to the parasite – Plasmodium falciparum. Whereas, the bite of an infected Anopheles mosquito transmits this parasite to humans.
Most of the Plasmodium parasites have got resistant to the common drugs used against them. So, there is an increased need for the development of new and effective treatment options. For a long time, it is known that pantothenamides are extremely powerful against the malaria parasite.
But these drugs get unstable within biological fluid due to an enzyme that clips them apart even before they can act. The research team has analyzed the benefit of modifying pantothenamide. And has found that changing a chemical bond in this molecule can prevent this clipping.
Moreover, this alteration can also make it practicable for use as a new antimalarial drug. Later, the team discovered the ways by which these modified molecules of pantothenamides can halt malaria parasites. This new drug interferes with the asexual growth phase of the malaria parasite in the blood.
Besides this, it can also prevent the transfer of the sexual form of parasite from infected humans to mosquitoes. Halting or preventing the malaria parasites transmission from infected people to mosquitoes can be quite helpful. As it can decrease the chances of mosquitoes to become carriers of the disease.
Mode of action
Currently, it is widely recognized that the next-generation of anti-malarial drugs must target the malaria parasite at multiple stages. Doing so can treat the disease in an infected person. And also prevent its transmission to others. The research team has investigated the mechanism by which the four most potent molecules of this class of drugs can kill the malarial parasite.
And most specifically, they have analyzed how these molecules can influence the metabolism of parasites while growing in human blood. As resistance to malaria is a global problem, currently the researchers are very close to a breakthrough. The results of the study have shown that the molecules of pantothenamides closely resemble the essential Vit B5. So, the parasite can mistakenly take and metabolize them.
The intake of pantothenamides can cause the formation of antimetabolites. That can decrease the production of acetyl-CoA that is a compound essential for survival. Up till now, there is no resistance to this drug. And it is much effective against many types of malaria. Knowing the mode of action of pantothenamide has made it a good choice for further development and clinical trials.