Plant ingredient offers low-dose alternative treatment for malaria

December 30, 2021
Plant ingredient offers low-dose alternative treatment for malaria

Researchers from Germany’s Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, along with colleagues from Ethiopia’s Arba Minch and Addis Ababa universities, have identified an active ingredient from the crushed leaves of a plant, used by people in Africa to treat malaria.

The plant named Ranunculus multifidus is a member of the flowering buttercup family – it produces a compound known as anemonin, which was found to be effective against malaria.

In a study conducted by the German and Ethiopian researchers, mice were infected with the malaria-causing Plasmodium berghei (P. berghei) parasite were treated with either anemonin or the commonly used malaria-treatment drug chloroquine. A control group was not treated at all.

It was found that although the anemonin treatment was less effective than the chloroquine, it nonetheless reduced weight loss in the treated mice (as compared to the control group) and helped stabilise their body temperature.

Anemonin works by affecting the metabolism of the P. berghei parasites and likely attacks the microbes at a different part of their body. This is an important consideration, as it suggests that anemonin may be effective in geographical regions where the parasites have developed a resistance to chloroquine.

Further studies are underway to identify the exact mechanism at work with the anemonin treatment, and to increase its effectiveness. Clinical trials on human malaria patients may follow within several years.

Read: Africa obtains “historic” malaria vaccine approval for children


Category: Education, Features

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