Beware Malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum , your nemesis is coming.

A new drug delivery system with a ‘time temperature clock’ is out and can potentially take the sting out of the mosquito bite.

It’s being termed as a polymer-based nano medicine to tame the malaria parasite. The parasite has been able to ‘dodge and fox’ drugs, repellents and continues to traumatise people across the world.

New weapon

Claiming the drug will be a potentially new weapon are scientists from the University of Hyderabad (UoH) who have developed the nano medicine. They used biodegradable, porous polymeric nano capsules, which efficiently deliver the drug into the body and control the action of the Plasmodium falciparum .

Pradip Paik of the UoH, now on lien to IIT-Varanasi (BHU), and his research team have detailed in their research paper, accepted for publication in Biomedical Physics & Engineering Express the development.

Malaria has emerged as a major scourge of the human race. According to the WHO, malaria is one of the major life-threatening ailments, with some 212 million cases reported every year and 429,000 of them turning fatal.

P falciparum is the deadliest of the four parasite species that infect humans.

How it works?

Due to the widespread resistance to most of the available drugs, needed are novel medicines or delivery systems and vaccines to control its spread and limit the damage potential.

The Pradeep Paik group has chosen the drug delivery and formulation route to control the virulence of the parasite in the human body. They have developed a new formulation of porous, polymer capsules with the commonly used anti- malarial drugs that have shown anti-malarial activity.

The drug delivery system is equipped with a ‘time temperature clock’ module, where the dosage for the treatment can be precisely tuned. Paik claimed that the new formulation is quite efficient in killing the P falciparum infection in RBCs (Red Blood Cells). It is ready for animal trials, he told BusinessLine . The nano medicine is in the form of an injectable capsule. Inside the patient’s body, the capsule releases the drug when the temperature starts rising and stop when the temperature comes down.

The research team consisted of Himadri Medhi, Somedutta Maity, Niranjan Suthram and Suresh Kumar Chalapareddy of the UoH. The testing of the nano medicine on the parasite in laboratory conditions was done by malaria biologist Mrinal Kanti Bhattacharyya of the university.

In the fight to overcome the malaria parasite not much headway has been made in terms of new drugs or a vaccine. A potential vaccine is on trial. While a few drugs have been developed, the clever parasite seems to render them ineffective over time. Many of the anti-malarial drugs face this problem, hence the significance of the new work.