Whole plant therapy can beat malaria parasites' drug resistance: Study

Jan 7, 2015 18:28 IST

A new study has found that whole plant therapy can beat malaria parasites' drug resistance. The study was published online in the latest issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in first week of January 2015.

Scientists from University of Massachusetts Amherst microbiologist Stephen Rich and his research team conducted the study.

Researcher said that the new treatment is based on a use of the whole plant (WP) Artemesia annua, from which the current pharmaceutical drug artemisinin (AN) is extracted.

The researchers found that the whole plant treatment withstands the evolution of resistance and remains effective for up to three times longer than the pure drug and also found the whole plant therapy effective in killing rodent parasites that have previously evolved resistance to pure AN.

This is especially important given the recent reports of resistance to artemisinin in malaria -endemic regions of the world and drug longevity is crucial since new drugs are costly to develop, not only in dollars but in the cost of lives lost.

The authors point out that consuming the whole plant may be more effective than the single purified drug because the whole plant may constitute a naturally occurring combination therapy that augments artemisinin delivery and synergizes the drug's activity.

 

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