While many researchers and doctors are in combat mode against the Zika virus, Malaria is a mosquito-borne illness that has impacted the world to a much greater extent.
The illness has been known to dance around new antibiotics, but that could soon be changing.
Researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center believe they have found a drug that can cure malaria with one dose. The drug would also act as a preventive treatment.
“People are dying of a curable disease in large numbers, and that’s the tragedy,” Dr. Margaret Phillips, lead scientist on the project, said. “We’re making progress because, 10 years ago, one million people were dying of malaria -- and the number has steadily dropped by more than half.”
DSM265 is the new drug that will kill parasites in the liver and in blood. It works by replicating the parasites. The main issue with all drugs is that they often become resistant as the parasites evolve. Phillips, who will discuss the topic in a lecture on Feb. 18, hopes the new drug will work as a preventative measure against the disease.
“For me personally, the opportunity to see my research potentially impact patients is the most rewarding experience of my career,” Phillips said. “If in the end the drug receives FDA approval, it will be a major accomplishment, and UT Southwestern will have contributed to the prevention of a dreaded, often deadly disease.”