Among the most devastating diseases plaguing Africa is malaria. In 2015 alone, the WHO estimates that of the estimated 429,000 deaths 90% were recorded in Africa. The situation is further compounded by reports that the parasite that causes malaria is becoming resistant to the approved drugs.
These stark realities nudged Reagan Moseti, a Molecular Biology and Biotechnology student at the Pan African University Institute for Basic Sciences, Technology and Innovation to examine the potential of approved drugs for treating diseases on the malaria parasite.
Moseti who is graduating with M.Sc. Molecular Biology and Biotechnology says he took this innovative approach given the amount of time and resources to develop new drugs; especially in Africa which hurts the most from malaria.
“Development of new drugs to the point of introduction into the market is an expensive and time consuming process, costing about $100 – 800 million over a period spanning over 12 years,” Said Moseti.
Moseti then used bioinformatics to test and analyze new indications for existing drugs for activity against malaria; what is technically referred to as drug re-positioning. After testing and analyzing 12 drugs including Zidovudine (approved for HIV); Moxifloxazine; and Oxaliplatin (anti-cancer drug), 10 showed active compounds against malaria parasite- plasmodium.
The research that was generously supported by the AFRICA-ai-JAPAN project offers hope in the management of malaria, should the drugs be repositioned for the disease.