Around the world, malaria, transmitted by mosquitoes, is the most significant parasitic disease of humans and claims the lives of more children worldwide than any other infectious disease. Most prevalent in sub-Saharan Africa, 98% of malaria infections, approximately 243 million cases every year, occur in Africa. An estimated 863,000 malaria deaths are among children in Africa under five years of age.
There are currently no effective vaccines for any of the six or more species that cause human malaria.
There may be a bright light on the horizon however, as an experimental Novartis AG drug killed malaria in mice with just a single dose catapulting it into the limelight as the first new treatment for one of the world’s major killer diseases in 30 years.
“A single-dose cure would go a long way to addressing the unmet medical need in malaria, and we look forward to seeing how this compound performs in clinical trials,” said Rick Davis, of Britain’s Wellcome Trust, which supported the research
Published Thursday in the journal Science, a team of scientists from around the world revealed that the drug NITD609 has shown to be effective when administered in mice against the two most common parasites responsible for malaria, as well as killing a group of drug-resistant strains taken from patients in Thailand.