Page 22 - UCT2012 Research Report

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Every year, malaria kills between 600 000 and a million people.
Of those affected, more than 90% are from sub-Saharan Africa
and 86% are below the age of five. The malaria parasite is
beginning to display signs of drug resistance, and thus there
is an urgent need to develop new drugs to treat the disease
effectively. South Africa records 7 000 cases of malaria per year,
and 79% of those are imported.
In a landmark development, a compound discovered in 2012 by UCT’s Drug Discovery
and Development Centre (H3-D), directed by founder Professor Kelly Chibale, in
conjunction with the Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV), the Eskitis Institute
at Griffiths University (Australia), the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute
(Switzerland), Monash University (Australia), and Syngene (India), has been selected
by MMV for its potent activity against multiple points in the malaria parasite’s
lifecycle. The compound, named MMV390048, from the aminopyridine class, not only
has the potential to become part of a single-dose cure for all strains of malaria, but
might also be able to block transmission of the parasite from person to person.
he compound was selected on the basis of initial results by the Swiss-based MMV
for further development – making it the first compound researched on African soil to
enter preclinical development in partnership with MMV.
“This is a significant victory in the battle to alleviate the burden of disease in the
subcontinent,” declared Naledi Pandor, Minister of Science and Technology, when the
discovery was announced at UCT in August 2012. “Clearly the war on this disease is not
yet won, but I am excited by the role that our excellent scientists have played in this
milestone in finding a potential cure for malaria, and possibly preventing its transmission.”
Africa leads in the
Fight Against Malaria