July 31, 2015 The University of Cape Town’s Drug Discovery and Development Centre, H3D, has announced that tests on a potential single-dose cure for malaria have shown encouraging results and are attracting several international interests and funding.
The new compound, MMV048, has proved potent and highly successful in curing malaria in its preclinical studies. The drug is designed to prevent the transmission of plasmodium parasites.
Kelly Chibale, a professor of organic chemistry, talked about the success of the project.
“So what we have done in the last three years since the announcement was in 2012 we have taken this to phase one human clinic trials and of course there is a long way to go, the potential that this compound offers is more than just the potential to impact Malaria control but also the potential to impact eradication because it is able to block transmission” He said.
Chibale also added that this is the first molecule from Africa to undergo clinical trials at the facility.
“So in a nut shell we have taken it to phase-one clinic trials, we have done extensive safety testing as a requirement and then thirdly we have looked at the process of manufacturing the drug on a large scale“
Chibale also said that the success had attracted a range of local and global partners and some foreign direct investment, while scientists from the USA, Europe, India and Africa had joined the program since the breakthrough was announced, including five senior scientists from the Western pharmaceutical industry.
The malaria programme, which is carried out by the University of Cape Town’s Drug Discovery and Development Centre in collaboration with Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV), was selected for further development by MMV’s expert scientific advisory committee in July 2012.
On the back of that, Mosquirix, the world’s first malaria vaccine has received a green light from European drug regulators.
Mosquirix, also known as RTS, was assessed for quality, safety and efficacy under a special procedure that allows the European Medicines Agency (EMA) to evaluate a product even if it will not be marketed in the European Union.
Developed by British drug maker GlaxoSmithKline and the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative, the drug is the first licensed human vaccine against a parasitic disease, according to GSK’s Chief Executive Officer Andrew Witty.
“This is the world’s first vaccine against any parasite. It’s not just the first vaccine against malaria. It’s never been done before and as recently as 10 years ago well informed scientific opinion would say that this was an impossible mission,” he said.