Research Article

Open-source discovery of chemical leads for next-generation chemoprotective antimalarials

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Science  07 Dec 2018:
Vol. 362, Issue 6419, eaat9446
DOI: 10.1126/science.aat9446

A path to tackle liver-stage parasites

Malaria parasites are evolutionarily prepared to resist drug attack. Resistance is emerging to even the latest frontline combination therapies, which target the blood stages of the Plasmodium parasite. As an alternative strategy, Antonova-Koch et al. investigated the possibilities of drugs against liver-stage parasites (see the Perspective by Phillips and Goldberg). To do so, they devised a luciferase-reporter drug screen for the rodent parasite Plasmodium berghei. Three rounds of increasingly stringent screening were used. From this regime, several chemotypes that inhibit Plasmodium mitochondrial electron transport were identified. Excitingly, several new scaffolds, with as-yet-unknown modes of action but solely targeting the parasites' liver stages, emerged as promising drug leads for further development.

Science, this issue p. eaat9446; see also p. 1112

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