SATURDAY, OCTOBER 1, 2016

New compound shows promise as antimalarial

A new antimalarial developed by Oregon researchers has potential to be considered a breakthrough against the mosquito-borne illness that kills 1.2 million annually.

Scientists at the Oregon Health and Science University and the Portland VA Medical Center have said, while human testing is years away, the compound, ELQ-300, could possibly aid in eradicating the disease entirely, according to OregonLive.com.

Michael Riscoe, a molecular microbiology and immunology professor at OHSU and director of the Experimental Chemotherapy Lab at the Portland VA Medical Center, said the drug can potentially prevent the transmission of the illness, giving it the potential to prevent the disease entirely.

Riscoe was a lead investigator on the new research, which was recently published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

Malcolm Gardner, a professor and malaria researcher at the Seattle Biomedical Research Institute who did not participate in the compound study, said the new drug is promising and its potency seems very high. In addition, he noted that the published study was highly sophisticated and comprehensive, unlike others that did not work out, according to OregonLive.com.

ELQ-300 is a variant of a drug originally developed by German scientists in the 1940s. Their drug, known as endochin, was deemed effective in canaries, though not in humans, and set aside until a Swiss nonprofit called Medicines for Malaria Venture decided to attempt to make it effective. The nonprofit will likely decide how to proceed with further development of the compound.