Scientists make human blood lethal to mosquitoes

Happy Children in East Africa
Happy Children in East Africa

Now that’s some positive news! Kenyan scientists have developed a drug that has the potential to crush malaria in the coming years. Studies showing the success of the new treatment come after years of trials in Burkina Faso.

Dr Simon Kariuki, head of the Kenyan research program, shared his positive outlook with the Guardian: “In a few years, new malaria drugs could be in the market if the current research findings are to go by. The same bacteria known to kill dangerous pathogens in scabies, river blindness, can also be applied in malaria.”

This new drug is based on another called Ivermectin. It is typically used to treat other tropical diseases like river blindness and elephantiasis. Studies show it even kills mosquito larvae.

“The motivating success of Ivermectin is leading us to venture into producing other drugs. That is very encouraging and it means more research, and that is what we are doing,” Dr. Kariuki said.

From breakthrough to real cure

Scientists in the United States are so excited about the new findings that the Center for Disease Control and Prevention will be beginning trials soon. The breakthrough comes after a massive push from the World Health Organization.

If the drug makes it to the market, the benefits would obviously be enormous. Africa in particular has much to gain from the end of malaria. Children are still contracting malaria at an alarming rate. Kenya alone had nearly 20,000 such cases in 2018 alone. Experts estimate that the release of this medication could put a massive dent in that number.

In early studies, the medication has cut infections by 40%.

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Read the original story by Gitonga Njeru in the Guardian.

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