Synthetic drug nicknamed Oz is set to become the major weapon in the fight against multi-drug resistant malaria

What has been described as the biggest breakthrough in malaria treatment of our generation has been developed by an international team including researchers from Monash University.

The new synthetic drug nicknamed Oz is set to become the major weapon in the fight against multi-drug resistant malaria and could be available to patients within three years.

Professor Bill Charman from the Victorian College of Pharmacy said the drug (OZ277/Rbx11160) is cheap and easy to manufacture and has the potential to save millions of lives worldwide.

Professor Charman said it is estimated that malaria kills between one and two million people every year and in sub-Saharan Africa one child dies every 30 seconds from the mosquito born disease.

"We are thrilled with the progress and speed which this drug has been developed and it is now entering human trials in the Europe," he said

"Assuming all goes well we are anticipating Oz will be available to patients in the next three years."

A major goal of the research team was to ensure the compound would be affordable for even the poorest of nations.

At a cost of US $1 per day, Professor Charman said the three day treatment program ensures this will be the case.

He said the ability of the Oz drug to treat drug resistant malaria holds the key to its success where other malaria medicines developed over the years have been less effective.

Professor Charman said the development of the drug has been an international effort with researchers from Monash University, the University of Nebraska Medical Center, the Swiss Tropical Institute and Hoffmann-La Roche of Switzerland working on the project since the late 1990's.

http://www.monash.edu.au

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