Experimental antimalarial shows promise in human challenge study

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An experimental drug, DSM265, has shown promise in human challenge trials as it cured seven volunteers of a Plasmodium falciparum infection.

The study, published in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, demonstrated that a single, oral dose of DSM265 at 400mg could clear low-level P. falciparum parasitemia, confirming the results of previous trials that have demonstrated DSM265 could clear the non-sexual stage parasites from infected humans.

Co-author, Jörg Möhrle (Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV), Geneva, Switzerland) commented: “A single dose cure would provide a treatment that could improve compliance, reduce development of resistance and eventually contribute to the eradication of this disease. DSM265 has the potential to become part of such a single dose cure.”

DSM265 was administered 7 days after blood-stage infection was experimentally induced in the seven healthy volunteers, and the number of gametocytes was measured using qPCR. At the end of the study all participants received systemic rescue treatment with the registered antimalarial treatments, artemether-lumefantrine and primaquine.

The report noted: “The results obtained in this study support the prediction of the efficacious dose of DSM265 and provide further evidence that DSM265 is generally safe and well tolerated.”

Möhrle commented: “The overall favorable safety profile for DSM265 observed in this study agrees with the safety findings from the previous (three) clinical studies. Currently, MMV is working to improve the formulation of DSM265 and to identify the optimal partner drug to achieve a single dose treatment of P. falciparum malaria.”

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Source: Collins KA, Rückle T, Elliott S et al. DSM265 at 400 milligrams clears asexual stage parasites but not mature gametocytes from the blood of healthy subjects experimentally infected with Plasmodium falciparum. Antimicrob. Agents Chemo. doi:10.1128/AAC.01837-18 (2019); www.asm.org/Press-Releases/Anti-Malarial-Shows-Promise-in-Human-Clinical-Stud

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