Malaria is a deadly disease caused by the parasite Plasmodium sp. and transmitted by Anopheles sp. and has been a global health threat for centuries. In Indonesia, this disease is one of the most comprehensively treated diseases. In 2019 there was an increase in the Malaria Sickness Rate compared to 2018 from 0.84 to 0.93 with the highest occurence in eastern regions such as Papua, NTT, and Maluku with the number of 64.03 in Papua, 2.37 in NTT, and 0.72 in Maluku.
One of the obstacles in overcoming this disease is the occurrence of resistance to antimalarial drugs. Three of the five species that cause malaria: P. falciparum, P. vivax, and P. malariae are known to have drug resistance. To prevent the development of resistance to first-line Artemisinin drugs, the policy was set from mono-therapy to combined therapy with Artemisinin-Based Combination therapies (ACT), however, resistance of P. falciparum to ACT in Southeast Asia has been reported currently. Moreover, the development of malaria vaccines is not in line with the immune response against parasites and the emergence of new defense mechanisms of Plasmodium sp. against the body’s immunity and drugs.
Various researches were carried out as an effort to find the latest therapy to overcome antimalarial drug resistance, one of them is the research of a team from the 2021 Student Creativity Program – Exact Research (PKM-RE) from Universitas Brawijaya consisting of Hero Barazani (FK 2019), Panca Aghniaa Ruuhu Alfaien (FK 2019) and M. Reva Aditya (FK 2020) with the supervisor Prof. Dr. dr. Loeki Enggar Fitri, M. Kes, Sp. ParK in the research entitled “Utilization of the Secondary Metabolite Fraction of Streptomyces hygroscopicus Isolate Indonesia as a Candidate for Effective and Safe Antimalarial Drugs”.
Streptomyces hygroscopicus is a bacterium that capable of producing secondary metabolites that have role as an antibiotic, antifungal, antiviral, antitumor, and immunosuppressive activities. A team member, Panca said, “Streptomyces hygroscopicus is known to have potential to inhibit microbial growth through its secondary metabolites. Various studies tested these secondary metabolites and found compounds such as eponemycin and tryptanthrin which were shown to inhibit P. falciparum which is the most severe cause of malaria. Previous research stated that the secondary metabolite fraction still contains a lot of content and further analysis of the fraction accompanied by a toxicity test is needed to determine the variation of the compound in order to find an effective antimalarial component.”
The research was conducted at the Parasitology Laboratory, Faculty of Medicine, Universitas Brawijaya, with strict health protocols. Various secondary metabolite fractions of the bacteria studied were tested for effectiveness against P. falciparum with LDH Assay method and toxicity tests for MCF7 Cell Line with MTT Assay method in vitro.
“Our team’s research uses accurate methods in testing effectiveness and toxicity with complete equipment and materials. The results of this study are expected to bring benefit to the community, government, and academics as a solution to overcome malaria with the discovery of secondary metabolite fraction of Streptomyces hygroscopicus which has the potential to be a candidate for the latest safe antimalarial drug.” said Hero added. [Humas UB/ Trans. Iir]