Novel molecule prevents malaria, shows research


  • Researchers from New Delhi have, for the first time, deciphered a multiprotein complex that is involved in the invasion of the red blood cells (RBCs) by Plasmodium falciparum malaria parasites.
  • They have also identified a peptide molecule that can effectively prevent the interaction between malaria parasites and receptors found on RBCs thereby preventing the parasites from invading the RBCs and causing the disease.
  • During infection with Plasmodium species, the parasite invades RBCs and replicates inside them. It is during the blood stage of infection that malaria disease occurs.

P. falciparum parasites:

  • P. falciparum parasites are known to quickly develop resistance against drugs through mutations. .
  • Instead of targeting the parasite, the molecule targets a specific receptor — cyclophilin B — found on the surface of RBCs that are used by the parasites to bind and invade them. Since the peptide molecule binds to cyclophilin B receptors, the parasites are unable to bind to receptors and invade the cells.
  • An immunosuppressive drug (cyclosporine A) that binds to cyclophilin B receptors on RBCs is effective in killing malaria parasites.
  • Cyclophilin B receptors were involved in the invasion process.
  • We can either modify the cyclosporine A drug to make it less toxic and use it for preventing malaria or use the peptide as an inhibitor.
  • It is easier to take the drug than the peptide to clinical testing by making necessary modifications.


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