Study shows ivermectin treatment knocks out malaria

New drug knocks out malarial parasites
New drug knocks out malarial parasites | Courtesy of
New studies demonstrate that using a Nobel prize-winning drug that knocks out parasitic worms may be effective against malaria.

At an annual American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH) meeting, scientists discussed using a workhorse drug to treat several different tropical diseases.

There was a preliminary trial conducted in West Africa that showed a decline of approximately 16 percent in childhood malaria episodes. Many of these cases are caused by Plasmodium falciparum, a deadly malaria parasite. The decrease involved four villages that had received one dose of the new drug every three weeks for the last few months.

"These are preliminary results but we expect to see further reductions in malaria fevers as we continue with the trial, which is occurring during the rainy season when malaria transmission typically peaks," Brian Foy, the project's lead investigator, said. "The drop in malaria fevers we're seeing with the ivermectin treatment is in addition to whatever is being achieved with insecticide treated bednets, which are in widespread use in all of the villages participating in the study."

There is discussion of a mass drug administration campaign to fight against malaria.

"Even if the mosquitoes don't get enough ivermectin to directly kill them, we think a sub-lethal dose should be sufficiently toxic to reduce malaria transmission," Foy said.

Organizations in this story

American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene

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