Mali trees can kill the Malaria carrying mosquito and its parasite

April 25th, 2017 | by MuslimScience
Mali trees can kill the Malaria carrying mosquito and its parasite

 Scientists from the University of Oslo have found two novel compounds from African trees to treat Malaria – the most lethal disease effecting poor nations worldwide.

The chemicals from the trees can kill both Malaria carrying mosquito and the plasmodium is a major breakthrough. The compounds can destroy the vector of the disease and its parasite.

Mosquitoes carry Plasmodium falciparum – the most lethal form of malaria parasite and transmit it to the humans and other mammals.

Now scholars from the University of Oslo extracted important compounds from the bark of the Olon (Zanthoxylum heitzii) tree commonly found from Congo to Cameroon. But they also discovered another important chemical from a related tree in Mali.

“We produced extracts from the bark of the Olon tree and found that it contains at least one compound that kills the mosquitoes which transmit the malarial parasite. But the bark also contains another substance that kills the parasite itself”, says Associate Professor Helle Wangensteen from Pharmaceutical Chemistry department who led the study.

From traditional healing to bio-labs

The Olon is being used in folklore medicines across Africa from a long time where local traditional healers use it to kill mosquitoes and other insects. Professor emeritus Karl Egil Malterud at the University of Oslo launched the project in 2012 with other scholars to further investigate the trees bark in Malaria eradication.

After years of research, they discovered two important and already known compounds from the bark of the tree. The Pellitorine destroys mosquitoes and dihydronitidin kills the parasite.

Though the compounds are not new to science but there powerful effects against the mosquitoes and parasites were little known before the Norwegian scientist’s work.

The pellitorine was isolated by a student, Nastaran Moussavi from the bark of Olon tree from Mali. Later she examined the chemical at a French institute to see its effects on mosquitos. When she exposed the mosquitoes to the compound, they died quickly.

“This caused the mosquitos to die, literally as flies! The experiments showed that pellitorine is toxic to mosquitoes”, Malterud said in a press release of the university.

According to Wangesteen, the dihydronitidine compound proved lethal for the parasite. The postdoc scholar, Ingvild Austarheim tested the compound at the School of Biosciences lab at the University of Melbourne. The chemical was so effective against the parasite, tested at the best facilities of Malaria parasite research in Melbourne.

” We have strong research collaboration with African scientists and institutes towards this research,” said  Wangensteen talking on telephone with Muslim Science.

Now, the Melbourne team is interested to further investigate the chemical for any potential drug.

No priority for Malaria

Often dubbed as disease of the poor, Malaria effects some 200 million people annually but neglected by research and pharmaceutical companies. The Sub-Sahara Africa has the highest share of global Malaria burden which is 90 per cent. According to WHO, it killed 429 000 people in 2015 and majority of them were children and pregnant women from African states.

Professor Malterud stress to spray the locally produced pellitorine solution in mosquito infested areas.



Comments are closed.