The erythrocytic stage of Plasmodium parasites in humans is clinically important because this stage causes malarial symptoms that can be severe and progress to fever, anemia, splenomegaly and sometimes death. Current anti-malarial drugs act on this stage, but the emergence and spread of resistance to anti-malarial drugs in Plasmodium is a major challenge against efforts for global malaria eradication. Therefore, the development of novel medicine is urgently required.
An automated hematology analyzer XN-30 (Sysmex Corp., Kobe, Japan) was developed to detect the parasite in clinical blood samples1). The analyzer accurately and quantitatively measures parasitemia and differentiates developmental stages in an in vitro culture system2), 3). In this study, we explored the usefulness of the XN-30 analyzer in the antimalarial drug research field. The XN-30 analyzer not only evaluated the efficacy of antimalarial drugs but also elucidated subtle differences in the state of the parasite treated with antimalarial drugs. Moreover, data obtained with the analyzer was highly reproducible and objective. We also evaluated parasites treated with 400 compounds in the Pathogen Box provided by the Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV). Based on these findings, the XN-30 analyzer provides new research possibilities for drug discovery and development as well as parasite detection.