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Blocking the transmission of the parasite from patient to patient is key if we are to achieve our goal of malaria eradication. In an infected patient some of the parasites continue to replicate asexually resulting in the clinical symptoms of malaria, while others form gametocytes, the precursors of or the sexual form of the parasite. It is these gametocytes, which are taken up in the mosquito’s blood meal, that continue the malaria lifecycle, maturing and developing within the mosquito, and thereby allowing the parasite to infect the next person.
MMV and partners have just completed a series of tests to determine which marketed and in-development antimalarials have this gametocidal or transmission-blocking capability. The data will be critical in informing the development of the next-generation antimalarials to eradicate malaria.