Expanding ways to tame a global childhood killer

Memphis, Tennessee, April 7, 2020

Researcher reads a book in a chair.

Aditya Gaur, MD, of St. Jude Infectious Diseases, is the co-first author of promising phase I research for a new anti-malarial drug.

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.

Read the full News Release. 

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