Malaria kills about 500,000 people a year. Unfortunately, most anti-malarial drugs can cause side effects, and drug resistance can be a problem. However, researchers may have struck gold: they have developed a drug that has cured malaria infection in mice, without detrimental side effects!
This new drug, called Ab-1, works by interfering with a protein that is required for the parasite to invade red blood cells. The protein in question is called basigin. By disrupting this process, the parasite’s life cycle can’t be completed, and studies with mice in the laboratory have been successful.
Basigin-blocking drugs are already in clinical use in humans, because it’s believed that this protein could also play a role in the progression of certain cancers. Because these drugs are already approved for human use, it’s possible that Ab-1 could be approved more quickly for use in humans, as well. Read more about this research here.