Malaria is a leading cause of illness and death in children worldwide. The first human study of an experimental anti-malarial drug discovered at St. Jude offers reason for hope.
Malaria is caused by a parasite spread by the bite of infected mosquitoes. The disease can be prevented and cured. Despite that fact, it is still kills almost 500,000 people every year. More than 60% of the deaths are young children. Resistance to current anti-malarial drugs is a problem.
The St. Jude drug was tested in a small number of healthy adult volunteers. Some of them were infected with malaria. The drug is called SJ733. It was well tolerated and worked fast to kill the parasite.
“While a single dose of SJ733 was not enough to completely clear the malaria parasites from the volunteers, given how well it was tolerated and its rapid anti-malarial activity, we think it holds promise as part of combination therapy,” said Aditya Gaur, MD, of St. Jude Infectious Diseases.
Lancet Infectious Diseases reported on this work.