Single-dose therapies for malaria have been proposed as a way to reduce the cost and increase the effectiveness of antimalarial treatment. However, no compound to date has shown single-dose activity against both the bloodstage Plasmodium parasites that cause disease and the liver-stage parasites that initiate malaria infection. Here, we describe a subset of cytochrome bc1 (cyt bc1) inhibitors, including the novel 4(1H)-quinolone ELQ-400, with single-dose activity against liver, blood, and transmission-stage parasites in mouse models of malaria. Although cyt bc1 inhibitors are generally classified as slow-onset antimalarials, we found that a single dose of ELQ-400 rapidly induced stasis in blood-stage parasites, which was associated with a rapid reduction in parasitemia in vivo. ELQ-400 also exhibited a low propensity for drug resistance and was active against atovaquone-resistant P. falciparum strains with point mutations in cyt bc1. Ultimately, ELQ-400 shows that cyt bc1 inhibitors can function as single-dose, blood-stage antimalarials and is the first compound to provide combined treatment, prophylaxis, and transmission blocking activity for malaria after a single oral administration. This remarkable multi-stage efficacy suggests that metabolic therapies, including cyt bc1 inhibitors, may be valuable additions to the collection of single-dose antimalarials in current development.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases