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Tuesday, 28 February 2012

The malaria-fighting potential of vitamins

According to a recent study conducted by British and German researchers from the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom,  vitamins could help fight malaria. The findings of the study, which were presented in the journal Structure,  suggest that vitamins may boost  the development of more effective drugs to fight this disease which, according to the World Health Organisation, affects more than 250 million people across 106 countries each year.
As one of the biggest problems in trying to control malaria is the high degree of resistance developed by Plasmodium species (the parasite which causes Malaria) against treatments being used today,  finding new means of combating the disease is crucial.
Previous studies have shown how antifolates targeting vitamins B9 and B6 biosynthesis of the malarial parasites play a vital role in the treatment of malaria. This study, which was partly funded by a grant under the EU's Sixth Framework Programme (FP6), identifies the malarial enzymes responsible for vitamin B6 biosynthesis with atomic three-dimensional (3D) structures. The team points out that vitamin B6 biosynthesis is a very organised process that involves an enzyme complex of 24 protein subunits. “The new data are a starting point for the development of specific inhibitors that target either the enzymes active sites or the assembly of the proteins into functional complexes”.

Source: European Commission

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