Scientists from the Australian National University (ANU) working with other research groups have found that certain molecules are capable of disabling a molecular salt pump on the surface of the malaria parasite, and this in turn causes the parasite to fill up with salt and burst.
ANU’s Prof Kiaran Kirk said the malaria parasite had become resistant to nearly all of the drugs currently available and discovering new ways to kill the parasite was vital.
“We’ve discovered what seems to be a fatal weakness in the parasite,” he told Fairfax Media on Thursday
“The salt pump plays a crucial role in the parasite’s survival and what we have shown is that there are many different types of molecules that can stop this salt pump from working and thus kill the parasite,” he said.
Kirk said the new treatment has already passed clinical trials and would be available in a few years.