(05.09.2010) Scientists from the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute in Basel and the pharmaceutical company "Novartis" may have succeeded in developing an active ingredient against malaria. At least an effective drug could be found for mice that protects the animals from infection with the malaria pathogen. It is still unclear whether the substance found will also work in humans and has to be examined in further studies.
Researchers at the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute in Basel and the pharmaceutical manufacturer “Novartis” have made a decisive breakthrough in malaria research. The scientists have developed a new active ingredient that kills malaria pathogens. The new substance belongs to the chemical class of "spiroindolones". At least in mice, the active ingredient has started and has successfully combated the pathogens.
In order to find the chemical substance, the research group searched Avandis' large database until a promising active ingredient could be found. About 200 descendants were made from it in order to analyze its effectiveness and safety. From this, a "spiroindolone" called "NITD609" could be developed. According to the team, the substance fulfills all the important criteria for an effective antimalaria antidote.
Other methods had previously failed to find a malaria drug. The “target-based drug discovery” focuses on first examining the pathways of the pathogens and then developing molecules on the PC that specifically intervene in these reactions.
It is not yet clear whether “NITD609” has side effects. At least none were recognizable in the laboratory. In a series of tests, two of four major malaria pathogens were killed. These are the malaria pathogens "Plasmodium falciparum" and "Plasmodium vivax". However, the scientists suspect that the substance found also works against the resistant malaria strains. It is a "diaphragm pump" vital for the "Plasmodia", the function of which is inhibited by NITD609. In any case, this substance is effective until the pathogens mutate.
The research team itself speaks of a success, but warns against too high expectations. The newly discovered molecule had to be examined more clearly for safety and side effects. It may take another 3 to 6 years before an appropriate drug can be manufactured. Because before that, studies must be carried out in which people are involved.
It is interesting in this context that western orthodox medicine suffered severe disappointments in the search for effective anti-malaria drugs. But access to naturopathic remedies from traditional Chinese medicine could have led researchers to effective substances earlier. In archaeological excavations in the 1970s, a mugwort recipe for malaria that was thousands of years old was discovered. After this discovery, the recipe was examined much later and astonishing knowledge was obtained. In fact, an effective remedy for malaria has been developed that is now recognized by the World Health Organization.
Malaria is a serious illness that can lead to death if left untreated. The symptoms of malaria are high fever, severe diarrhea and severe gastrointestinal cramps. Especially in children and patients with a weakened immune system, malaria can quickly lead to coma and death. According to the WHO, around one million people die from malaria worldwide every year, around half of whom are children under the age of five. The vast majority of sufferers come from Africa (90 percent). In Germany, an average of 900 people fall ill each year. 3 to 8 people die from tropical fever in Germany. (sb)