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This Protein Identified by Scientists May Help World Get Rid of Malaria

Scientific work and laboratory tests have revealed that the substances that suppress the action of the plasmodium protein can kill the parasite at different stages of its existence.

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Updated:September 4, 2019, 1:59 PM IST
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This Protein Identified by Scientists May Help World Get Rid of Malaria
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Typically transmitted through the bite of an infected Anopheles mosquito that carries the Plasmodium parasite, malaria infects a person when the parasite is released into the human bloodstream. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), in 2016, there were an estimated 216 million cases of malaria in 91 countries. A common mosquito-borne disease alongside dengue, chikungunya and Zika, malaria affects millions of people around the world annually.

Now, an international team of scientists has made a discovery, through which new drugs can be developed that can not only treat but also block the spread of malaria, according to a story published in Science Journal.

According to the report, scientists have identified a protein of malarial plasmodium, which is very important for the development of the parasite throughout its entire life cycle. The data obtained indicate that drugs that specifically target this protein will allow the treatment of malaria at any stages, significantly improving the prognosis of its course.

One of the authors of the study, Christian Doerig, professor of Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, said that the results are a direct path to new targeted medicines that will be a turning point on the path to the eradication of malaria as a whole.

According to him, scientific work and laboratory tests have revealed that the substances that suppress the action of the plasmodium protein can kill the parasite at different stages of its existence.

What this means is that treatment of already affected patients or those who may be infected can be started without having to wait for the first signs of the disease. The current malaria vaccine is about 40% effective.

The scientists plan to create a drug that suppresses the action of this protein, as well as begin clinical trials at the next stage of the study.

Notably, malaria is a group of infectious diseases that are transmitted to humans by females of malaria mosquitoes (Anopheles). During the illness, the patient develops a high fever, chills, and the size of the spleen and liver increase considerably. According to WHO’s latest estimates 85-90% of cases of malarial infection occur in sub-Saharan Africa and children under the age of five are most affected by malaria.

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