Washington: A new anti-inflammatory drug could help boost survival in the most severe cases of malaria by preventing the immune system from causing irreversible brain and tissue damage, according to the researchers.Walter and Eliza Hall Institute researchers have revealed that a new class of anti-inflammatory agents, called IDR (innate defense regulator) peptides, could help to increase survival from severe clinical malaria when used in combination with antimalarial drugs.The study was conducted by a research team fronted by Dr Ariel Achtman and Dr Sandra Pilat-Carotta, and led by Professor Louis Schofield from the institute`s Infection and Immunity division.Achtman claimed that many drugs that prevent malaria infections are not effective in sick patients at preventing tissue damage that arises from the inflammatory immune response."The most severe forms of malaria, such as cerebral malaria which causes brain damage, are actually the result of the immune system trying to fight infection and causing collateral damage," she said.Pilat-Carotta said that the team used a treatment approach which combined drugs that suppress potentially harmful inflammation with antimalarial agents that fight the parasite, in mouse models infected with the malaria parasite Plasmodium berghei."In this study, we showed that a new class of drugs could prevent inflammation in the brains of mice with malaria and improve their survival. This is an example of a ``host-directed`` therapy – a treatment intended to act on the host not the parasite," Pilat-Carotta said.
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