A Way Forward to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goal Target of Ending Malaria Deaths

Malaria claims ~0.5-0.6 million lives every year, mainly affecting children below five years of age. The deaths due to cerebral and severe malaria occur even after antimalarial treatment and hence, there is an unmet need of adjunct drug to prevent the malaria mortality. The research team at DBT-ILS led by Dr Arun Nagaraj has identified the role of parasite heme in cerebral and severe malaria. Deletion of parasite heme pathway or inhibition of parasite heme synthesis by griseofulvin – a FDA approved antifungal drug leads to a protection of cerebral and severe malaria validated in animal models. Griseofulvin can be easily repurposed as an adjunct drug with the existing antimalarials to prevent the malaria mortality. The reported findings by the research team at DBT-ILS pave the way to achieve the target of 90% global reduction in the malaria mortality by 2030. The funding support from Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) has been sought to initiate the preclinical trial before proceeding with the clinical trials in humans. The timely support from funding agencies is required to expedite the trials that might take at least 3 years. Almost every minute, a child loses its life for malaria and successful human trials would help in saving the lives of millions!
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