UCT in malaria cure 'breakthrough'

2012-08-29 07:43

University of Cape Town scientists in collaboration with Swiss-based colleagues are onto a possible breakthrough in the fight against malaria, Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor announced on Tuesday.

"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 in a statement.

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, she said.

This followed a research collaboration involving the Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV), based in Switzerland, and the Drug Discovery and Development Centre (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.

The science and technology department had invested R25 million 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.

"The discovery that we announce today is a significant victory in the battle to alleviate the burden of disease in Africa.

"Clearly the war on disease is not yet won, but I am excited by the role that our excellent scientists have played in finding a potential single-dose cure for malaria and possibly preventing its transmission."

South Africa in general had built considerable strength in clinical research over the past decade. The main focus had been on HIV/Aids and TB.

This development had occurred together with significant growth in the basic sciences that underpinned infectious disease research (immunology, virology, microbiology, biochemistry, and genetics), Pandor said.

  • Hemlock - 2012-08-29 08:10

    Wonderful news. Here's hoping it can save millions of lives.

      klippies.coke.7 - 2012-08-29 12:53

      It is great news, but even though they prove its a cure today, it will be years before it gets to the people who needs it. Many lives will still be lost while this goes through red tape.

  • arne.verhoef - 2012-08-29 08:20

    Excellent news! Job well done! Now on to AIDS and stupidity

      sanda.mnyazi - 2012-08-29 10:10

      That last word just fvcked your entire comment

      klippies.coke.7 - 2012-08-29 12:50

      As the ANC has proven time and time again, there is no cure for stupidity

  • sanda.mnyazi - 2012-08-29 10:10

    Good development indeed, now i wish scientists work around the clock on the HIV/AIDS cure.

  • Aphrodite - 2012-08-29 10:57

    aminopyridine... very miss leading. What COMPOUND exactly have they discovered, I'm wondering? Its already used as a pesticide, and also experimentally for M.S sufferers, but has very serious side effects.

  • richard.russmann - 2012-08-29 11:28

    Amazing!! Big pharma companies (yes capitalism ultimately does rule human progress) combining with academics is a great combination, keep up the good work.

  • robert.coutts - 2012-08-29 15:52

    fantastic progress in light of teh fact that a Malaria single dose cure has been around for more than 15 years and used in Africa for that many years. pity i cant go public though as it is not profitable enough to make the cure (at only 20c a dose no one makes money)official and approved.

  • Che` Guava - 2012-09-10 01:07

    Save human lives .. But to what effect ? When we cant live together .. Just providing more cannon fodder to the already overcrowded world, which is constantly at war.... Some things should be left alone ... What is there to curtail the top predator of this world .? We consume all in our path .. Our population is rising exponentially . Our world can not sustain this uncontrolled growth ... China is right they have been there and done that. one child only.... The end of times is becoming a reality ... Resources are fading. And populations growing . Our cures are a blessing and a curse . Only those who are privileged will eventually benefit . The rest will die with unsympathetic eyes watching as they do so. . We are all going to suffer because of this ...

  • beverley.graham.14 - 2012-11-07 22:16

    If you have found a cure then I am willing to participate in any trials you may be running. I have been suffering from malaria for the past 2 years as I keep getting relapses to the point where I can gladly lie down and die. I have had the required medication and have been trying all sorts of medications and herbal treatments to no avail. Malaria is one of the worst diseases trust me and I am sure many can verify this that have had malaria. If you are doing trials I am first in line. I can be contacted at I would be the happiest person on earth if I can get rid of these parasites once and for all.

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