Griffith University

Griffith University scientists make malaria breakthrough

September 19th, 2017

Queensland Scientists have helped discover new compounds which could help block the transmission of the deadly disease malaria.

A team of Griffith University researchers have found a novel class of compounds, the hexahydro quinoline (HHQ), with potent activity against the parasite stages responsible for the clinical symptoms of malaria and its transmission to mosquitoes.

Malaria is still a leading cause of death, with 212 million new cases and 429 000 malaria deaths recorded worldwide in 2015, 90% of which are in Africa. A major obstacle in eradicating the disease is wiping out the sexual forms of the malaria parasites, the gametocytes. While not responsible for the clinical symptoms, gametocytes are essential for the continued transmission of malaria, as these are the parasite stages taken up by the mosquito.

Gametocytes are naturally insensitive to the antimalarial drugs routinely used for malaria therapy and therefore escape the killing action of the drugs, enabling the new infections to occur. The findings have been revealed in Nature Microbiology in their article ‘Hexahydroquinolines are antimalarial candidates with potent blood-stage and transmission-blocking activity’. Dr Leonardo Lucantoni can be seen discussing this exciting breakthrough here.