JNU Scientists Anand Ranganathan, Shailaja Singh Make Big Breakthrough In Enhancing Antimalarial Drug EfficacyJNU Scientists Shailaja Singh - left, Anand Ranganathan - right

Scientists at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) Anand Ranganathan and Shailaja Singh have achieved a major breakthrough in the quest to improve the efficacy of drugs like chloroquine and artemisinin in treating malaria, Deccan Herald has reported.

This breakthrough assumes significance in light of malaria parasites showing resistance to the aforementioned drugs.

The scientists at the Special Centre for Molecular Medicine in JNU have found a unique way to cripple the parasite Plasmodium falciparum before it can reach the red blood cells for multiplication.

The scientists have devised a novel approach to block the route taken by the parasite which causes cerebral malaria after discovering a block of synthetic molecules which blocks the interaction between the parasite and two proteins.

"The idea here was to break the cycle of the parasite at the very first step when it is trying to invade our RBCs. The binding of Myosin A to its physiological interacting partner (MTIP) is crucial for generating the force for parasite’s motility", Anand Ranganathan has been quoted as saying.

The scientists found that the synthetic molecule ZA1 strongly interacts with Myosin A which inhibits the parasite's motor machinery. The molecule was then truncated into a smaller ZA1s which is even better at combating the parasite.

The team now aims to crystallise these ZA1s molecules to understand its structure, following which the drug development process would begin.

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