The fight against malaria has just scored a new point as researchers at Dundee University have discovered a new compound which could treat malaria while protecting people from the disease and preventing its spread, all in a single dose.
The compound, DDD107498, was developed by the university's Drug Discovery Unit and the Medicines for Malaria Venture and scientists said the "exciting" new drug could work well against parasites resistant to current treatments.
Joint leader of the project, Dr Kevin Read said new drugs were "urgently needed" as "resistance to the current gold-standard anti-malarial drug is now considered a real threat."
He further said the compound works in a different way to all other anti-malarial medicines on the market or in clinical development, meaning that it has great potential to work against current drug-resistant parasites.
The project was initiated by testing a collection of about 4,700 compounds at the Drug Discovery Unit (DDU), to see if any would kill the malaria parasite, which provided the chemical starting-point for the new compound, which was optimised through cycles of design, preparation and testing.
The compound is now undergoing safety testing through MMV, with a view to entering human clinical trials within the next year.
According to BBC, the World Health Organisation reported 200 million clinical cases of malaria in 2013, with 584,000 people dying from the mosquito-borne disease, most of them pregnant women or children under five.