Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Advances Against Malaria | Combination Treatment

New studies conducted with children in Burkino Faso have shown that "in combination with newer malaria drugs, methylene blue prevents the malaria pathogen in infected persons from being re-ingested by mosquitoes and then transmitted to others and is thus twice as effective as the standard therapy" (University).

Methylene blue is one of the oldest synthetic treatments of malaria. In 1891, Paul Ehrlich identified its success at treating the disease (Schirmer). The chemical fell out of favor because of its cosmetic side-effects: whites of the eyes acquire a blue tint (image) and urine turns green.

Methylene blue is relatively cheap to produce and may see a resurgence in use since "combination therapies are twice as effective against gametocytes as the standard therapy" (University).

Schirmer H, Coulibaly B, Stich A, et al. (2003). "Methylene blue as an antimalarial agent--past and future". Redox Rep 8: 272–276. doi:10.1179/135100003225002899

University Hospital Heidelberg. "Spread Of Malaria Parasites Curbed With Combination Of Methylene Blue And New Malaria Drugs." ScienceDaily 26 May 2009. 24 June 2009

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