Chemistry Research Seminar Series: possible alternative compounds to tackle chloroquine resistant malaria

Malaria is a major killer in Uganda and Africa as a continent. One of the major issues usually raised is that many of the malaria drugs available on the market have become resistant overtime. In addition, majority of the population cannot afford the expensive drugs and therefore resort to use of herbs that are readily available. The question is; what is the efficacy and toxicity of the herbal medicines?

Ms. Martha Induli, a PhD candidate in the Department of Chemistry presented on the exhibition of antiplasmodial activities by extracts of rhizomes of Kniphofia foliosa against the chloroquine-sensitive (D6) and chloroquine-resistant (W2) strains of Plasmodium falciparum. Rhizomes are naturally occurring in natural plants that are widely available in Africa. The presentation was at the Chemistry Research Seminar Series (CRSS) held on the 8th October 2013.

In her presentation, Martha explained to the participants that various compounds had been isolated during various lab tests. The compounds were also tested through in-vitro and in-vivo tests. She also explained that this was only a start if a drug would actually be made from the compounds; further tests would have to be done regarding efficacy and toxicity of the compounds to humans.

In consideration of significance of her research to the community, Martha highlighted the following:

  • This would make a contribution to drug development in comparison to the malaria drugs that are available on the market at present.
  • Research has shown that 80% of population in Africa use herbal medicines for ailments that affect them. Therefore, evidence to support efficacy and toxicity of the herbs that they use would support healthcare on the continent.
  • In the event of confirmation that the compounds can help in fighting malaria, communities would be encouraged to grow the plants where the compounds are present. This would ensure sustainability in manufacturing the drug and also become a source of income to communities where the plants are grown.

In her concluding remarks, Martha thanked the Department of Chemistry, her supervisor(s) including Dr. Robert Byamukama who is staff in the department, DAAD who are sponsoring her studies and employer for allowing her to undertake the studies. She also thanked all the various partners who have worked with her on her study. To-date, two publications have already been accepted in peer reviewed journals. For more information, the presentation is available and Martha can be reached through her supervisor in the department: Assoc. Prof. Robert Byamukama

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