October 23, 2014

UNMC researcher on team developing new malaria drug

A powerful new drug to treat malaria – the invention of a University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy researcher — will help take the bite out of malaria. In the United States, a mosquito bite seems harmless, but in developing countries it means more than 655,000 deaths a year – mostly in children. Dr. Jonathan Vennerstrom is a researcher at UNMC’s College of Pharmacy and says this drug could have a huge impact on many people.

Dr. Vennerstrom stated, “With more than 200 million cases of malaria each year, the potential impact this drug could have on saving and improving lives worldwide is significant. That has been our goal and now we are at the finish line.”

Dr. Vennerstrom says this new malaria drug, Synriam, along with other new drugs, is much needed. He says we constantly need new supplies of drugs because older ones become less useful because of resistance.

Dr. Vennerstrom and his team received more than $12-million in grants. The team includes members Switzerland and Australia. This steam also developed a second drug that might be superior to the first. It is currently being tested in clinical trails in Bangkok, Thailand.