A single pill could potentially cure millions of lives around the world – but hasn’t yet been tested on humans.

The National Geographic has reported that during trials over the last 18 months, the scientists have discovered a drug that ”killed these resistant parasites instantly”.

Following tests on animals that didn’t produce any side effects and seemed to be safe, clinical tests on humans are now ready to begin in 2013.

“This is the first ever clinical molecule that’s been discovered out of Africa, by Africans, from a modern pharmaceutical industry drug discovery programme. The potent drug has been tested on animals and has shown that a single oral dose has completely cured those infected with malaria parasites.” said Professor Kelly Chibale from The University of Cape Town.

There were 216 million cases of malaria diagnosed in 2010 – the disease was responsible for an estimated 655,000 deaths. (Source: World Health Organisation