A Probe Into Anti-Malarial Therapeutics
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On November 6th, 1880, French military doctor Alphonse Laveran observed a protozoan parasite in the blood of one of his patients, revealing the microbial basis for Malaria, one of the most devastating diseases in the world. This mosquito-transmitted disease is caused by Plasmodium parasites and presents with symptoms comparable to influenza. Symptoms may include fever, chills, muscle aches, sweating, nausea, and fatigue. According to the World Malaria Report, there were about 241 million diagnosed cases of Malaria resulting in over 627,000 deaths in 2020. The disease is endemic in tropical and subtropical areas. While individuals living in these environments can become partially immune to Malaria from repeated exposure to the parasite, certain groups are at particular risk for infection and severe disease such as young children, the elderly, women who are pregnant, travelers and migrants without prior exposure, and immunocompromised individuals. Antimalarial therapeutics are critical to global public health given the prevalence and significance of this disease. In this creative component, I provide a survey of historically important antimalarial drugs as well as the current frontline treatments. Mechanisms of parasite resistance to these drugs are discussed along with current and future prospects for novel antimalarial therapeutics and vaccines.