In order to maximise compliance, the future antimalarial treatment should ideally require just a single-dose administration. This, in turn, demands new fast-acting effective drugs. Currently, methods to measure the in vitro killing rate of antimalarials are based on parasite growth. We have developed and validated a method to determine and classify antimalarial agents based on their cidal or static activity following quantitative Real Time PCR (RT-PCR) analysis. The method described here is a fast, reliable and user-friendly technique with a medium throughput. Metabolic activity of the parasite is followed by measuring mRNA expression levels of several genes during 5 parasite life cycles. mRNA from the parasite culture is then retrotranscribed to cDNA and quantified by RT-PCR. This new method provides a rapid and reproducible way to accurately measure the antimalarial activity of new compounds in vitro against Plasmodium falciparum.
plasmodium; cidal; static; real time pcr; gene expression; mrna