A group of scientists has identified a new enzyme responsible for the malaria parasite’s survival – the acetyl-CoA synthetase – which could become a new target for malaria drugs.

Studies from 2018 have identified two compounds that could potentially block this recently discovered enzyme, making them good candidates for the production of antimalarial drugs. Further studies are needed to assess the potency of these compounds, but they seem to be able to kill the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum at multiple stages of its life cycle. Most existing drugs exclusively target the form of the parasite that infects red blood cells; these two compounds can also kill Plasmodium falciparum at the stages when it infects human liver cells.