Drug for treating psoriasis can be used to treat malaria, finds study

Drug used for treating skin disease psoriasis may now be used to effectively treat malaria, suggests recent study. Researchers modified a class of molecules called pantothenamides to increase their stability in humans. The new compounds stop the malaria parasite from replicating in infected humans and from being transmitted to mosquitoes and are effective against malaria parasites resistant to currently available drugs. A paper describing this new class of modified pantothenamides was published in the journal Science Translational Medicine. Malaria is caused by the parasite Plasmodium falciparum, which is transmitted to humans from the bite of an infected Anopheles mosquito. Because many Plasmodium parasites have developed resistance to the most common drugs used against them, there is a pressing need for effective new treatment options. The team found that the modified pantothenamide molecules not only interfere with the development of the malaria parasite during its asexual growth phase in the blood but also prevent transmission of the sexual form of the parasite from human blood to mosquitoes.