News24

DA applauds discovery of malaria compound

2012-08-29 21:03

Cape Town - The DA has welcomed the news that the University of Cape Town (UCT) has identified a compound that has the potential to both prevent and cure malaria.

Democratic Alliance spokesperson Junita Kloppers-Lourens congratulated UCT's Drug Discovery and Development Centre (H3-D) director Professor Kelly Chibale and his team on Wednesday.

She also commended the science and technology department for the fact that Chibale's research was made possible through the department’s South African Research Chairs Initiative (SARChI).

Chibale had called the SARChI "something unique and special about this country", Kloppers-Lourens said in a statement.

Autonomy

The SARChI funding model, avoided dictating what should be researched and instead allowed autonomy in the area.

Malaria remained the single biggest killer of people in Africa. As Chibale had pointed out, 24% of total child deaths in sub-Saharan Africa alone were caused by the disease, she said.

On Tuesday, Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor announced that UCT scientists, in collaboration with Swiss-based colleagues, were onto a possible breakthrough in the fight against malaria.

"I have the pleasure to announce the discovery of a compound which will be the first ever clinical candidate researched on African soil as part of a modern pharmaceutical industry drug discovery programme," she said.

Block, cure


The recently discovered compound, from the aminopyridine class, not only had the potential to become part of a single-dose cure for all strains of malaria, but might also be able to block transmission of the parasite from person to person.

This followed a research collaboration involving the Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV), based in Switzerland, and H3-D at UCT.
On the basis of initial results it had been selected by MMV for further development.

"The candidate molecule is novel, potent, and has the potential to have a significant impact on global malaria control and eradication," Pandor said.

R25m

The science and technology department had invested R25m in this pioneering programme between MMV and UCT.

"This is a powerful demonstration of how much can be accomplished when open minded researchers come together for the sake of the greater good of humanity," she said.

Kloppers-Lourens said the fact that there could be a viable cure and treatment for malaria by 2020 was remarkably good news.

"The latent socio-economic benefits of alleviating our disease burden cannot be overstated. Moreover, the potential attraction of highly skilled scientists as a result of this discovery bodes well for critical human capital development in South Africa," she said.

Comments
  • PointBlank - 2012-08-29 21:20

    That is incredible news!!!

      Malose-Nyatlo - 2012-08-29 21:26

      Indeed!

      hendrik.verwoerd.94 - 2012-08-30 05:10

      I can now see how News 24 work. The Minister first made the announcement, but the heading is "DA applauds". How cheap. Why not "Minister Pandor welcomes".

      mo.matt.14 - 2012-08-30 09:45

      Perhaps Minister Pandor was too busy figuring out how to steal more from the poor South Africans, or how to hide the latest corruption that she missed the opportunity to make the statement first. You snooze, you lose.

  • deon.jansevanrensburg.58 - 2012-08-29 21:37

    God save us from opportunistic politicians

      Press - 2012-08-29 22:04

      And Manto Tshabalala Msimang, Registered traditional "health practitioners", sangoma's, muti and rabbits . . . .

  • kseyffert - 2012-08-29 22:12

    Very very good, but I see lots of Could and mays. It is early days yet and the results still need to be verified. Good news if they do but for now it's still pie in the sky. Relax people, let the brainboxes go to work, shower them with money to complete the research, one way or the other. Then we can either forget the hype or party big time as needed.

  • sihle.zito.9 - 2012-08-29 22:20

    This is good news indeed

  • brionyl.french - 2012-08-30 07:03

    Finally!!! a break through!!!

  • ludlowdj - 2012-08-30 12:14

    An excellent achievement that needs to followed up and marketed with all due haste, it is unfortunately a reality that continued climate change will spread and increase the current Malaria areas, and without this sort of innovation Africa will become a hostage to increased deaths and malaria based complications going forward.

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