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Antiretroviral Drugs: A Shot in the Arm to Fight Malaria?

A few of the anti-retroviral drugs in use to assist HIV infection, may aid the fight against malaria, Australian researchers said. Detailed research on existing// antiretrovirals that are already in use to combat HIV is need of the hour, which can form the basis of development of a new genre of anti-malarial drugs.

This is indeed a boon to the African Population, where malaria is rampant, and also befalling the HIV afflicted lot with uncanny regularity. The researchers said in a statement: "These findings may be especially significant in sub-Saharan Africa and other areas of the developing world where there are high rates of HIV and malaria co-infection.”

Serum from HIV-infected people with the help of protease inhibitors was used by the researchers against the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum in vitro. The finding revealed that serum taken from people who were undergoing antiretroviral therapy, consisting of ritonavir-boosted saquinavir (Invirase) or lopinavir (Kaletra), showed remarkable anti-malarial activity. The presence of nelfinavir (Viracept), amprenavir (Agenerase) and the NNRTI nevirapine (Viramune) in thereapies did not hamper the proliferation of the malarial parasite.

According to researchers, the life of the parasite is entirely dependent on the protease enzymes released by the plasmodium species, which may form the basis for the development of a new variety of anti-malarial drugs. Further research is warranted to establish the success rates of these drugs.

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