Scientists have discovered the first case in which malaria parasite has been unable to spread its resistance against drugs.
Through the numerous tests that were done, the malaria parasite was able to shrug off the effects of drug atovaquone but in the process destroyed its life cycle.
The University of Melbourne team is hopeful that this discovery will assist in coming up with new ways in which malaria can be trapped.
They have plans to carry out field tests in Kenya and Zambia.
The first time atovaquone was introduced was in 2000 after which it became less popular after resistance to it was detected.
Resistance is problematic in the sense that it makes the drug unusable since it is no longer unable to kill the malaria parasite.
The researchers were concerned with the whole malaria parasite life cycle, both in animals and mosquitoes.
Despite resistance emerging in one host species, it was unable to survive in the other.
In 44 attempts to spread a resistant parasite from one mouse to another, involving 750 mosquito bites, it was successful only once. And that resistance was unable to spread any further.
One of the researchers, Prof Geoff McFadden, informed BBC that the discovery could be a big one and has the potential of changing the manner in which we use the drug.
“The development of drug resistance may not be a major problem if the resistance cannot spread, meaning the drug atovaquone could be more widely used in malaria control.
“We now understand the particular genetic mutation that gave rise to drug resistance in some malaria parasite populations and how it eventually kills them in the mosquito, providing new targets for the development of drugs.”
Experiments that were done with the human malaria ended up with the same results and now there are plans test it in the field.