Research carried out in part by an artificially-intelligent (AI) ‘robot scientist’ has found that a common ingredient of toothpaste could be developed to fight drug-resistant strains of malaria. Scarlett Cvitanovich reports.
LONDON, ENGLAND, UK (REUTERS / UNIVERSITY OF MANCHESTER) – A common ingredient in your toothpaste could join the fight against malaria.
Triclosan shows the potential to interrupt infections of the disease at two critical stages – in the liver and the blood.
In toothpaste, it helps prevent a build-up of plaque bacteria.
The research was carried out in part by an artificially-intelligent ‘robot scientist’ nicknamed Eve…..
Which worked with scientists from Britain’s Cambridge University to automate and speed up the drug discovery process.
Scientists have known for some time the ingredient can halt malaria parasites’ growth at a certain stage and with a particular enzyme.
But this latest study has found it also inhabits an entirely different enzyme….
And is able to target it.
Malaria spreads from mosquito bites….
And kills around half a million people every year.
While it can be treated with a number of drugs – its resistance is increasing.
That’s made the search for new medicines increasingly urgent.
Armed with the knowledge triclosan has the ability to attack two points in the malaria parasite’s lifecycle….
Scientists now hope to develop a new drug to fight those strains which are battling back.