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Current Affairs

Antarctic sea sponge for curing malaria

Date: 13 September 2019 Tags: Space

Issue

Researchers have revealed that a peptide, isolated from an Antarctic sponge has ability to fight against malarial infection. The current medications for malaria have become less effective due to drug resistance.
 

Background

Some 219 million cases of malaria were reported worldwide in 2017, according to the World Health Organization, with 4,35,000 people having lost their lives to their disease that year.
 

Details

  • Symptoms of malaria begin with fever and chills, which can be followed by severe anaemia, respiratory distress and organ failure.

  • The parasite responsible for malaria is transmitted to people through mosquito bites. It spends some of its lifecycles first in the liver, where it reproduces, and then it moves into the blood.

  • Conventional treatments hold the parasite in check when it is in patients' blood, but the parasites are increasingly becoming resistant to these medications.

  • During research, the team screened a collection of natural products extracted from a Southern Ocean sponge known as Inflatella coelosphaeroides.

  • One compound, named as friomaramide, blocked infection and development of the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum in liver cells, thereby effectively reducing malarial infection.