Beaccon Transcript – A new malaria capsule which should have long-term effects on the body could lead to new treatment methods for both this and other diseases and affections.
Giovanni Traverso, the study’s lead author is an M.B. BChir, PH.D., and Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Woman’s Hospital (BWH) biomedical engineer and gastroenterologist.
The malaria capsule should help treat the disease due to both its composition and its long-term effects. The capsule, which has a star-like shape, will remain in the stomach for over two weeks after its being ingested.
As such, its payload could be released over a gradual, prolonged period of time. The malaria capsule will be based on ivermectin, an antiparasitic drug which is believed could help fight the disease.
The ivermectin will also be mixed with a number of other polymers and materials which should put a stop to the spreading of other parasites as well.
According to the aforementioned Traverso, the six-sided star shape was the most beneficial as it was chosen due to a number of factors.
The ease of encapsulation, mass manufacturability, drug release properties, and gastric stability are amongst the most important factors to determine the dosage and shape.
As the malaria capsule has a six-sided star shape, this allows for its stay in the stomach as its form keeps it from being digested immediately.
According to Tyler Grant, another of the researchers involved in the project, the capsule will unfold once it reaches the stomach. As such, it will ensure its long-term release and effects.
Models of the malaria capsule have already been tested in a series of animal trials which revealed the capsule’s 14 days slow release and its safe unfolding in the stomach.
As the current diffusion spans over two weeks, the team will seek to expand the time period to up to a month or longer.
Both the animal trials and the mathematical models of the capsules revealed important data on the use and possible effects of ivermectin.
They showed that long-lasting higher levels of the drug could increase the effects of the malaria elimination drug. High ivermectin blood levels could kill the malaria-carrying mosquito.
The team will also be considering the capsule’s possible utility outside the infectious disease area. Its future targets will be the potential utilization in chronic disease treatments the likes of heart, renal, and psychiatric diseases, to name just a few.
As future studies will seek to prolong the duration and the effects of the malaria capsule, scientists are also hoping for human trials.
A human trial testing and study could be initiated sometime in the middle of next year as the clinical trials will test the capsule’s duration in humans.
If proven efficient, the malaria capsule alone could lead to a 90 percent lowering of the disease’s transmission as its efficiency when used with other treatments was of 70 percent.
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