HYDERABAD: Malaria is a dreaded disease in most tropical countries. This makes the emergence of resistance against the anti-malarial drug Artemisinin in the Plasmodium falciparum parasite which causes the disease, a serious concern.
Researchers from the Department of Biochemistry in University of Hyderabad (UoH) have found that a chemical compound named B02 can help tackle the menace of multi-drug resistance in Plasmodium, when it is used in combination with anti-malarial drugs Artimisinin or Chloroquine. The effectiveness of the new compound B02 against malaria has been observed in computer simulation by the researchers as a proof of concept.
Prof Mrinal Kanti Bhattacharyya, who leads the team of researchers that was behind the findings told Express that they have also started the next phase, that of animal testing.The findings have been published recently in a research paper titled, ‘A small-molecule inhibitor of the DNA recombinase Rad51 from Plasmodium falciparum synergizes with the antimalarial drugs Artemisinin and chloroquine’, in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.
The drug artemisinin is considered the last resort drug for treating malaria. Artemisinin works by causing damages to the DNA of the parasite, ultimately killing it.The UoH researchers in their earlier studies on malaria had found that the parasite has the ability to repair damage caused to its DNA by artemisinin, using the protein called ‘PfRad51’.
Now, the researchers find that the chemical compound B02 can successfully inhibit the activity of PfRad51 protein, thereby preventing the ability of the malaria-causing parasite from repairing damages caused to its DNA by artemisinin.Meanwhile, the chemical compound B02 was also found effective against malaria that were not found to be drug resistant as well.