As many as 400 million people suffer from malaria worldwide. Unfortunately, resistance is developing to the few remaining anti-malarial drugs that are effective against the disease and hence new therapies are urgently needed. Now, two Indian researchers are proposing that a commonly used antibiotic called Triclosan could be an effective treatment for malaria (Nature Medicine Vol. 7, No. 2, 01 Feb 2001).
Triclosan is used in mouthwashes, anti-acne preparations and deodorants. Namita and Avadhesha Suriola from the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research in Bangalore found that an injection of Triclosan completely cleared the infectious parasite from a mouse model of malaria. They went on to determine that Triclosan is effective because it inhibits the action of a parasitic enzyme called FabI which is part of a key biochemical pathway that produces fatty acids. The authors conclude that the Plasmodium falciparum FabI gene is a new target for the development of new antimalarial drugs.
James Beeson and colleagues from the University of Melbourne, Australia, discuss the fatty acid pathway that is targeted by Triclosan in an accompanying News & Views article.
Dr. Namita Surolia
Molecular Biology and Genetics Unit
Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research
Fax : +91 80 334 8535/ 334 1683
Dr James G. Beeson
Post Office Royal Melbourne Hospital
University of Melbourne
Tel : +61 3 9345 2555
Fax : +61 3 9347 0852
(C) Nature Medicine press release.
Message posted by: Trevor M. D'Souza