Purdue researcher awarded $1.3 million for malaria drug trials in Southeast Asia and Africa

Philip Low looks to validate previous trial results and test whether the number of days of an anti-malaria drug therapy can be reduced

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind., Sept. 15, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — A Purdue researcher is taking a giant leap forward in the fight against drug-resistant strains of malaria in developing countries.

Open Philanthropy has awarded $1.38 million to Philip Low to further validate a drug therapy that he and his colleagues have previously shown to successfully treat the disease. Low (rhymes with “now”) is Purdue University’s Presidential Scholar for Drug Discovery and the Ralph C. Corley Distinguished Professor of Chemistry in the College of Science.

For years, experts have been concerned about the rise of drug-resistant malaria variants in Southeast Asia and the prospect that one or more of these strains might travel to Africa. A similar event occurred in the 1980s with the emergence of drug resistance to the then-standard treatment of chloroquine, which resulted in millions of deaths.

But Low is working to save lives on both continents by conducting clinical trials to validate previous results and to test whether the number of days of an anti-malaria treatment can be reduced.

While studying how malaria propagates in human blood, Low and his research team discovered that the cancer drug therapy imatinib is effective in the treatment of drug-resistant malaria. Trials in Southeast Asia showed that imatinib, when combined with the customary malaria therapy, clears all malaria parasites from 90% of patients within 48 hours and 100% of patients within three days. The patients receiving imatinib were also relieved of their fevers in less than half of the time experienced by similar patients treated with the standard therapy.

Open Philanthropy has awarded Low $600,000 for a larger clinical trial in Southeast Asia to validate his previous trials. The organization has also awarded Low $780,000 to determine whether the usual three-day therapy can be reduced to two days or even one. This work will be focused in the African countries of Kenya and Tanzania where malaria is prominent.

“We found that people in Africa must often walk many miles to obtain treatment for malaria. They will receive three pills, walk all the way home, take one or two pills, start to feel better, and then save the third pill for their next malaria infection,” Low said. “When they don’t finish the course of treatment, only the most drug-resistant strains of the parasite survive and spread. And that’s how people build up drug resistance. So we’d like to eventually be able to cure all patients with just one pill. It would prevent these drug-resistant strains from ever proliferating.”

Open Philanthropy is a grantmaking organization whose mission is to use its resources to help others as much as it can, according to the funder.

“This is yet another case of an organization recognizing Philip Low’s brilliance, scientific vision and mission to help people in all corners of the world,” said Brooke Beier, senior vice president of Purdue Innovates. “The Purdue Research Foundation has been a proud partner in supporting his work, protecting and promoting his intellectual property that is changing lives and making our world a better place to live.”

Since 1988, Low has been listed on more than 145 invention disclosures to the Purdue Innovates Office of Technology Commercialization. He has been listed on more than 600 patents in nearly two dozen countries around the world from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and international patent organizations. During his tenure at Purdue, Low has been awarded 213 research grants for more than $43.5 million. His work also receives support from the Purdue Institute for Cancer Research and the Purdue Institute for Drug Discovery.

Imatinib was originally produced by Novartis for the treatment of chronic myelogenous leukemia and other cancers. It works by blocking specific enzymes involved in the growth of cancers.

“When we discovered the ability of imatinib to block parasite propagation in human blood cultures in petri dishes, we initiated a human clinical trial where we combined imatinib with the standard treatment (piperaquine plus dihydroartemisinin) used to treat malaria in much of the world,” Low said.

Malaria infects human red blood cells, where it reproduces and eventually activates a red blood cell enzyme that in turn triggers rupture of the cell and release of a form of the parasite called a merozoite into the bloodstream. Low and his colleagues theorized that by blocking the critical red blood cell enzyme, they could stop the infection. The data from initial drug trials have confirmed that.

“Because we’re targeting an enzyme that belongs to the red blood cell, the parasite can’t mutate to develop resistance — it simply can’t mutate our proteins in our blood cells,” Low said. “This is a novel approach that will hopefully become a therapy that can’t be evaded by the parasite in the future. This would constitute an important contribution to human health.”

The goal, Low said, is to get this into developing countries to save lives. With this new round of funding, he says they’re now closer than they’ve ever been.

About Purdue University

Purdue University is a public research institution with excellence at scale. Ranked among top 10 public universities and with two colleges in the top 4 in the United States, Purdue discovers and disseminates knowledge with a quality and at a scale second to none. More than 105,000 students study at Purdue across modalities and locations, with 50,000 in person on the West Lafayette campus. Committed to affordability and accessibility, Purdue’s main campus has frozen tuition 12 years in a row. See how Purdue never stops in the persistent pursuit of the next giant leap, including its first comprehensive urban campus in Indianapolis, the new Mitchell E. Daniels, Jr. School of Business, and Purdue Computes, at https://www.purdue.edu/president/strategic-initiatives.

About Purdue Innovates

Purdue Innovates is a unified network at Purdue Research Foundation to assist Purdue faculty, staff, students and alumni in either IP commercialization or startup creation. As a conduit to technology commercialization, intellectual property protection and licensing, startup creation and venture capital, Purdue Innovates serves as the front door to translate new ideas into world-changing impact.

For more information on licensing a Purdue innovation, contact the Office of Technology Commercialization at otcip@prf.org. For more information about involvement and investment opportunities in startups based on a Purdue innovation, contact Purdue Innovates at purdueinnovates@prf.org.

Media contact: Steve Martin, sgmartin@prf.org

Sources: Philip Low, plow@purdue.edu

Brooke Beier, blbeier@prf.org

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Steve Martin
Purdue Research Foundation
sgmartin@prf.org

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NA Chairman hosts Vice President of Cuban legislature

National Assembly (NA) Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue on September 16 hosted Vice President of the Cuban NA Ana Maria Machado who is leading a delegation to the 9th Global Conference of Young Parliamentarians now underway in Hanoi, saying that this demonstrates the Cuban legislature’s support for Vietnam and the Vietnamese NA in particular.

Hue expressed his delight at growing bilateral ties with various visits, working sessions and cooperation activities at many levels, across different sectors and involving many localities.

Affirming Vietnam’s stance of supporting Cuba and calling for an end to the policy of blockade and embargo against the Caribbean country, he said the Vietnamese NA and himself always strongly support the Cuban NA’s bid to become an observer in the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) and enhance its relations with ASEAN. At the recent 44th AIPA General Assembly in Jakarta, the Cuban NA became an observer in AIPA.

He also said he believes that the sharing of experience between the Vietnamese and Cuban legislatures will become more practical and effective.

Machado expressed her delight at attending the conference and conveyed the regards of President of the National Assembly of People’s Power of Cuba Esteban Lazo Hernández, Cuban lawmakers and people to Chairman Hue.

She informed the host said the leader of the Cuban NA is preparing to lead a delegation to Vietnam to mark the 50th anniversary of Fidel Castro’s visit to the liberated zone in South Vietnam in Quang Tri province and the 60th founding anniversary of the Cuban Committee for Solidarity with South Vietnam (September 25).

Recalling Chairman Hue’s visit to Cuba in April that contributed to further tightening ties between the two Parties, countries and legislatures, Machado thanked Vietnam for assisting Cuba in various areas, demonstrating the sense of solidarity at international forums, including support for the call to lift the embargo on Cuba.

She also thanked the Vietnamese NA for assisting Cuba during the COVID-19 pandemic and endorsing Cuba’s observer status in AIPA, and wished to strengthen ties between the two legislatures.

The Cuban NA backs and speaks highly of Vietnam’s hosting of the ongoing global conference with highly relevant topics for sustainable global development, she said, adding that the Cuban delegation actively contributed ideas at sessions and activities of the event.

According to her, Cuba’s foreign and sci-tech policies always place a strong emphasis on the role of youth and the continuity of their involvement in these areas./.

Source: Vietnam News Agency

Vice State President holds talks with South African counterpart

Vice State President Vo Thi Anh Xuan held talks with South African Deputy President Paul Mashatile on September 15, within the framework of her official visit to the country.

Xuan spoke highly of South Africa’s leading role in the continent as well as its important contributions to international forums, and congratulated the country on successfully organising the recent BRICS Summit.

For his part, Paul Mashatile welcomed the Vietnamese Vice President’s visit and described it as an important event taking place on the occasion of the two countries celebrating the 30th anniversary of their diplomatic relations (1993 – 2023).

He expressed his impression with Vietnam’s dynamic development achievements as well as its increasing role and position in Southeast Asia and the Asia-Pacific, and emphasised that solidarity and mutual supports in the fight for national independence and freedom are important factors for the two countries to promote multi-faceted cooperation in national construction and development.

The two sides spoke highly of the positive developments in cooperative relations between the two countries over the past three decades.

Vietnam and South Africa have become important partners of each other in Africa and Southeast Asia. South Africa is currently Vietnam’s largest trade partner in Africa, with two-way turnover reaching nearly 1.3 billion USD in 2022.

Collaboration in defence-security, economic, agricultural investment, culture, education-training and people-to-people exchanges has also made positive progress.

On the same day, Xuan met General Secretary of the South African Communist Party (SACP) Solly Mapaila and Minister of South African Public Enterprises Pravin Ghordan, cut the ribbon at an inauguration ceremony of the Vietnamese Cultural Space in South Africa, and attended a ceremony to mark the 78th anniversary of Vietnam’s National Day and the 30th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between Vietnam and South Africa./.

Source: Vietnam News Agency

Vietnam an outstanding example in implementing SDGs: Foreign MPs

Vietnam is an outstanding example in implementing sustainable development goals, Deputy Speaker of the People’s National Assembly of Algeria Monder Bouden said on September 16.

Speaking to the Vietnam News Agency on the sideline of the 9th Global Conference of Youth Parliamentarians in Hanoi, he said that Vietnam is considered by international observers as a country with a good growth rate. It is predicted that Vietnam will become a high-income country and a developed country by 2045, he continued.

According to Bouden, the conference’s theme “The role of young people in promoting the realisation of sustainable development goals (SDGs) via digital transformation and innovations” was highly valued by international friends because it attracts the interest of many people and is in line with contemporary issues. The theme highlights the need to promote the role of young people in implementing the United Nations SDGs via digital transformation, innovation, and entrepreneurship, he said.

Fikile Masiko, a member of South Africa’s Parliament, said that digital transformation, especially for young people, is always a top priority for her country.

South Africa and its Parliament always encourage and create the best possible educational conditions to attract young people to participate in digital transformation as well as keep up with global trends, she added.

Sharing the same view, Belgian parliamentarian Wouter Vermeersh spoke highly of the conference’s theme as young people are especially interested in new technology, digital transformation, artificial intelligence, and creative startups. The conference will contribute to connecting young people and young parliamentarians in these fields, he said.

Regarding the third session on promoting respect for cultural diversity in support of sustainable development, Nguyen Thi Ha, a Vietnamese delegate, said culture is an important factor for countries to realise sustainable development goals, adding that it is also identified as one of the elements that decide the strength and position of each country in the international arena.

Vietnam’s inclusion of cultural and human issues in sustainable development at this conference has shown the viewpoint of the Party and State of putting culture on par with economics, politics, and society and, developing culture and people is to meet the requirements of sustainable development of the country, she noted.

At this session, parliamentarians exchanged views and experiences in promoting the development of each country’s culture and people./.

Source: Vietnam News Agency

PM meets leaders of Chinese conglomerates

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh met with leaders of several Chinese conglomerates in Nanning city, China’s Guangxi province, on September on the occasion of his attendance at the 20th China-ASEAN Expo (CAEXPO) and China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit (CABIS) there.

Receiving Chairman of the Executive Board of China Railway Chen Yun, PM Chinh praised the company’s global reach and sustainability with 381 branches in 105 countries.

Chen said the company is now the main contractor of several urban railway projects in Hanoi and wind power projects in Dak Nong province, and a tire manufacturing plant in Tien Giang. He expressed interest in engaging in the construction of transportation projects in Vietnam, such as the North-South and the Lao Cai – Hanoi – Hai Phong express railways, and the Hanoi urban metro line.

To develop infrastructure, PM Chinh said Vietnam is stepping up public-private partnership, striving to have 5,000km of highways, complete the first stage of the Long Thanh international airport and 1,700km of coastal roads from Quang Ninh to Ca Mau by 2030.

According to him, Vietnam plans to build railway lines such as the Lao Cai – Hanoi – Hai Phong with a total length of roughly 388km and a cost of 11 billion USD, the Vung Ang – Laos with the section in Vietnam stretching 103km and costing 1.6 billion USD, and the Hanoi – Ho Chi Minh City with around 1,545km and a combined investment of some 62 billion USD.

The Vietnamese leader welcomed the Chinese enterprises and the China Railway in particular to expand their operation in Vietnam in the spirit of harmonising interests and sharing risks.

He suggested the China Railway continue working with relevant Vietnamese ministries and localities to develop new projects in Vietnam, including the Lao Cai – Hanoi- Hai Phong express railway linking with the Kunming-Hanoi-Hai Phong economic corridor.

In a reception for Wang Xiaojun, Deputy General Manager of Power China which ranked 100th on the Fortune Global 500 list and 29th among the top 500 Chinese enterprises in 2022, PM Chinh hailed the company’s plan to expand operations in energy in Vietnam in the near future, especially in wind power and liquefied natural gas electricity projects.

The Vietnamese Government commits to create all possible support to Chinese firms and the Power China in particular, he said, adding that it recently approved the National Power Development Plan for the 2021-2030 period with a vision to 2050, with renewable energy sources, especially onshore and offshore wind power, being a foundation of Vietnam’s long-term energy security.

He suggested that the Power China explore cooperation in Vietnam’s priority areas, including infrastructure – one of Vietnam’s three strategic breakthroughs. Specifically, he proposed exploring the possibility of investing in China – Quang Ninh – Hai Phong and Lang Son – Hanoi – Hai Phong railway lines, with the commitment to translating these ideas into concrete actions and achieving tangible results./.

Source: Vietnam News Agency

Indian’s ITEC programme celebrated in Hanoi

A ceremony to celebrate the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) Programme was jointly held by Indian Embassy and National Library of Vietnam. in Hanoi on September 15.

Speaking at the ceremony, Ambassador Sandeep Arya said that 59 years ago, India launched ITEC’s capacity building and skill sharing programme to promote economic development with developing countries.

He acknowledged that the programme includes a series of activities in many fields, including supports for the establishment of educational organisations and facilities, assistance for the provision of lecturers and equipment, as well as training of personnel at institutions in India. Over the years, it trained more than 200,000 officials from over 160 countries in civilian and defense sectors.

Deputy General Director of the Vietnam News Agency (VNA) Doan Thi Tuyet Nhung expressed her respect for the people and country of India, which is considered a cradle of the human civilisation and a land of cultural diversity.

She highly valued the effective assistance from the Indian Embassy in Vietnam over the past years in providing the Indian Government’s ITEC scholarships for many reporters, editors, and technicians of the VNA. It is an opportunity for the trainees to take part in exchanges and learn expertise and professional skills from their colleagues and friends from India and other countries.

Tens of VNA reporters, editors, and technicians have joined the ITEC programme, many of whom have become leaders of the VNA. They are also those who inspire their colleagues’ love for the country and people of India, she added.

She also thanked the Indian Embassy in Vietnam for its effective cooperation and assistance over the recent past and wished for continued cooperation from the embassy in the time ahead

ITEC programme, the leading development cooperation one between India and Vietnam, started in the 1970s. The presence of more than 3,400 ITEC programme alumni in Vietnam reflects the comprehensive strategic partnership relationship between the two countries, especially in the areas of capacity building and sharing of expertise.

The programme covers human resources development in many different fields, including information technology, public administration, small- and medium-sized enterprises, business, rural development, parliamentary affairs, journalism, agriculture, renewable energy, water resources, finance, accounting, space science, and cyber security./.

Source: Vietnam News Agency

Foreign delegates praise Vietnam’s hosting of young parliamentarians conference

Many foreign legislators attending the ninth Global Conference of Young Parliamentarians in Hanoi have expressed their pleasure with Vietnam’s preparations for and organisation of the event.

“I warmly applaud the organisers for their inclusive approach in involving young people and the young MPs in preparing this conference. It is truly commendable to see such a proactive approach in shaping the agenda and discussions,” said Dan Carden, President of the Board of the IPU Forum of Young Parliamentarians, and member of parliament (MP) of the UK in his speech delivered at the opening session.

In a sidelines interview granted to the Vietnam News Agency, he said that this is a big conference with over 300 parliamentarians from more than 80 countries in attendance.

“It’s no mean feat to bring us all together here in Hanoi, Vietnam and we have been welcomed and have the support of the volunteers as well. And that’s been really important,” he noted.

“Vietnam is a fascinating country with a fascinating history, but it’s also a country of the future. It’s going to be developing rapidly in the years ahead. And digital technology will be key to combating challenges, like climate change, where Vietnam is one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change,” he added.

Speaking highly of the conference’s theme, Mojtaba Rezakhah, MP from Iran, said this conference in Hanoi is very practical because it focuses on two main issues which are cyberspace and online content management, and the role of the young generation in the parliament.

Meanwhile, Gilang Dhielafaraez S.H. from the Indonesian House of Representatives said that when coming here, he saw that Vietnam had prepared very carefully for this conference. He expressed his hope that Vietnam can play a big role in innovation, thereby helping ASEAN become a strong community.

Regional countries such as Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore are focusing on this field and can coordinate with each other to achieve greater efficiency in promoting innovation, he added.

Commenting on the Vietnam’s digital transformation, Fusanori Iwasaki, Director of the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) said the Vietnamese Government is actively pushing the process. When Vietnam achieves net zero emissions by 2050, it will make maximum use of artificial intelligence and other digital technologies.

This is a challenge, he stresses, suggesting the Vietnamese Government build a legal framework for this field.

The ninth Global Conference of Young Parliamentarians, themed “The Role of Young People in Promoting the Realisation of Sustainable Development Goals via Digital Transformation and Innovations,” took place September 15-16.

Drawing more than 300 participants, the conferences featured three sections on digital transformation, innovation and startups, and promoting respect for cultural diversity in support of sustainable development./.

Source: Vietnam News Agency

German businesses interested in Vietnam

German news website NTV has published an article highlighting the attractiveness of the Southeast Asian country to German businesses.

According to the September 14 article, Vietnam has long been famous for shoes, garment and textile, coffee and pepper. The country is always ready to innovate and absorb new technologies, so it has a good reputation as an electronics manufacturing hub.

Meanwhile, “Made in Germany” goods and machinery are also very popular in Vietnam, along with automobiles and chemical products. Germany currently has about 350 companies with offices and facilities in the Southeast Asia country, it said.

Two-way trade turnover reached 18 billion euros (19.2 billion USD) last year, of which shipments from Vietnam accounted for 14.7 billion euros. Germany is currently Vietnam’s most important trade partner in the European Union (EU) while Vietnam is Germany’s largest partner in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Ludwig Graf Westarp, the representative of the German Association for Small- and Medium-sized Businesses (BVMW) in Vietnam, said Vietnam is a country with many development opportunities and a very vibrant market. Over the recent years, the country has poured much capital into infrastructure, roads, ports and airports. Vietnam is also expanding its renewable energy industry which requires not only experience but also technology from Germany.

According to NTV, the per capita Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Vietnam has doubled in the past 10 years. It has a young population who are ready to learn and a stable political system. Although the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the Vietnamese economy like other countries in the world, experts are still very optimistic about its economy.

The article also said that in addition to the economic field, Vietnam is also quite an attractive country for Germany in terms of geopolitics. A lot of countries such as the Republic of Korea and Japan have set up production bases in Vietnam to enjoy economic benefits.

These things clearly show Vietnam’s potential to German businesses, given an increasingly volatile world order, it added./.

Source: Vietnam News Agency