Coming soon: Single-dose malaria drug

London: Just one dose of a new experimental drug could cure malaria, scientists at U.S. National Institutes of Health have reported.

Malaria is spread by night-biting mosquitoes, which infect people with parasite when they feed. Now an international team of scientists have found a drug, called NITD609 that is effective against the two most common parasites responsible for malaria.

They found that in mice, it targets a different parasite protein from other anti-malarial drugs and one oral dose was enough to clear the tropical disease.

“A single-dose cure would go a long way to addressing the unmet medical need in malaria, and we look forward to seeing how this compound performs in clinical trials,” The Daily Mail quoted Rick Davis, of the Wellcome Trust, as saying.

NITD609 has properties owing to which it could be manufactured in pill form and in large quantities.

Elizabeth Winzeler said that if NITD609 behaved similarly in people, it could be developed into a drug that could be taken just once - far easier than current standard treatments in which malaria drugs are taken between one and four times a day for up to seven days.

The study is reported in the journal Science.