Old drug a new tool in malaria parasite fight?

A DRUG used to combat worm infestations could be drafted into the fight against malaria, field studies in Senegal have shown.

Researchers recorded a 79% decline in mosquitoes carrying the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum in locations where, two weeks earlier, the drug ivermectin had been given broadly to villagers.

“Ivermectin mass drug administration… is used to control onchocerciasis and lymphatic filariasis,” the authors wrote, noting it had an “added killing effect… against malaria vectors”.

In villages where ivermectin was not in use, malaria-bearing mosquitoes rose by 246% over the same period.

Am J Trop Med Hyg 2011, online 7 July