MMV is pleased to share that an article co-authored by Dr Didier Leroy, one of our Senior Directors for Drug Discovery, has been selected as one of the top 10 most cited and influential articles of 2022 by Trends in Parasitology – a scientific review journal for researchers in all disciplines of parasitology.
Co-authored by Lyn-Marie Birkholtz (University of Pretoria) and Pietro Alano (Instituto Superiore di Sanità), ‘Transmission-blocking drugs for malaria elimination’ explores the need to develop new antimalarials that not only treat infections, but also interrupt the malaria parasite lifecycle, which depends on transmission between humans and female Anopheles mosquitoes.
When we think of malaria, we often think about a mosquito biting a human and causing disease. However, an infected human (with or without symptoms) can also pass the malaria parasite back to a mosquito when bitten, infecting them, and so continue the parasite's lifecycle, ready to infect another human. This ongoing transmission from mosquito-to-human-to-mosquito is one of the key challenges to eliminating malaria. Today, only single low dose primaquine clears the gametocytes involved in human-to-mosquito transmission; such lifecycle-breaking properties are not present in other approved treatment combination options, highlighting an unmet need to be addressed by research and development.
“Expediting the eradication and elimination of malaria requires new efficient antimalarials that clear the reservoir of parasites in patients, not only by curing them but also by blocking the transmission of the disease in high prevalence areas,” says Dr Didier Leroy.
The article, published in Trends in Parasitology, highlights the need to develop antimalarials that treat and block malaria transmission in both symptomatic and asymptomatic cases (where a human carries the parasite, but has no symptoms), to reduce the burden and support malaria elimination. It discusses targeting different biological processes and combination strategies to reduce transmission and protect from drug resistance, sharing recently delivered candidate drugs that have powerful activity against both blood and transmissible stages and are showing promise in development.
MMV is committed to discovering, developing and delivering new, effective and affordable antimalarial drugs, continually innovating in R&D to achieve elimination of malaria. MMV is pleased this paper has been recognized as being in the top 10 parasitology papers in 2022: a testament to the team's expertise and the commitment to deliver tools for elimination and eradication of malaria.