Ms Trizah Koyi

A combination of measures including early diagnosis, chemotherapy and vector-based approaches has helped to significantly reduce the number of malaria cases and deaths over the last decade. The disease burden however remains high in many countries of sub-Saharan Africa. As such, new ways to control and eliminate malaria are urgently required. One such is the use of interventions that block malaria parasite development in the mosquito host thus preventing transmission to humans. We have identified a plant-based compound–parthenin, which blocks malaria parasite development within its mosquito host. Parthenin however is toxic to humans. To improve its potency and safety profile, we have modified its structure to obtain different derivatives that will be evaluated against the malaria parasite. The findings will inform their development as leads for designing more effective compounds that can be administered as chemoprophylactic agents in combination with currently approved antimalarials.

The main objective of the research is to design and develop lead molecules that can be adopted for development of malaria transmission-blocking drugs. Within this objective, further objectives of Trizah’s research are:

  1. To isolate parthenin and synthesize parthenin derivatives
  2. To evaluate transmission-blocking potential of the isolated compounds, either singly or in combination
  3. To determine the cytotoxic effect of the pure compounds and parthenin derivatives.