Infections: African Antimalarial Research Bears First Fruit

Photo: Researcher works

In just 18 months the researchers
have identified and developed
a candidate suitable for preclinical
development;© MMV

A recently discovered compound from the aminopyridine class, code named MMV390048, caused quite a stir at the Expert Scientific Advisory Committee (ESAC) of Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV) meeting in Toulouse, France.

The compound shows potent activity against multiple points in the malaria parasite’s lifecycle. This means that it not only has the potential to become part of a single-dose cure but might also be able to block transmission of the parasite from person to person. On this basis it was selected by MMV’s ESAC for further development – making it the first compound researched on African soil to enter preclinical development in partnership with MMV.

The aminopyridine series was initially identified by Griffith University scientists in Australia as part of MMV’s extensive malaria screening campaign of around 6 million compounds. A team of scientists from the University of Cape Town’s in South Africa, led by Professor Kelly Chibale then scrutinised and explored the antimalarial potential of the series further. With parasitological and pharmacological support from the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute and Monash University, respectively, Kelly’s team selected the most promising compounds from the series to be optimized and re-tested. In just 18 months the team had identified and developed a candidate suitable for preclinical development.

“We are very excited that this promising compound, researched by African scientists, has been selected by MMV for further development,” said Chibale. “This is truly a proud day for African science and African scientists! Our team is hopeful that the compound will emerge from rigorous testing as an extremely effective medicine for malaria – a disease that accounts for 24 percent of total child deaths in sub-Saharan Africa.1.”

MEDICA.de; Source: Medicines for Malaria Venture