New anti-malaria drug investigated by CHDR and the Leiden Controlled Human Infection Center (L-CHIC)

New anti-malaria drug investigated by CHDR and the Leiden Controlled Human Infection Center (L-CHIC)

Our Associate Director Ingrid de Visser is teaming up with Meta Roestenberg, a Parasitology and Infectious Diseases specialist from Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC), to investigate a new preventative compound against malaria.

During this study, which is commissioned by Merck, healthy volunteers will be treated with the new antimalarial drug at CHDR. Subsequently, the LUMC will investigate whether the volunteers are protected against malaria by means of a controlled infection. During this controlled infection, volunteers will be inoculated by the malaria parasites, after which they will be monitored daily. As soon as the malaria parasites multiply in the blood, the volunteers will be treated to ensure the effects from the malaria infection are minimized.

Properties and efficacy

De Visser: “With this study we will investigate the properties of the new drug in healthy volunteers, and at the same time, we will study whether the drug is effective.” Roestenberg: “Finding alternatives for the currently used antimalarial drugs is important, considering the increasing resistance of the parasites. We hope that this drug will ultimately be an alternative for atovaquone/proguanil (e.g. Malarone), the most used drug among travelers to prevent malaria.”

However, De Visser and Roestenberg stress that we are not there yet. If these initial tests prove to be successful, Merck will first have to examine the drug more extensively before it can enter the market. Additionally, a second drug will likely be added to prevent the malaria parasite from becoming resistant.

Good marriage between CHDR and L-CHIC

Roestenberg: “This study is an important step for us. Within the framework of the Leiden Controlled Human Infection Center (L-CHIC), we have already been setting up an intensive collaboration with CHDR for much longer. We are very happy with the trust that Merck has put in us to test their new drug for malaria prophylaxis, as this also provides us with the opportunity to further invest in our team.”

De Visser: “L-CHIC and CHDR complement each other perfectly in this study. CHDR has extensive expertise in conducting first-in-man studies and measuring effects of new drugs in volunteers, and at L-CHIC they know better than anyone how to conduct controlled infection studies. So, you could say this is a perfect marriage!”

The coming weeks, we will be recruiting volunteers for this study, which will last until the fall. For more information, visit

Ingrid de Visser (left) & Meta Roestenberg (right)