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Combating Malaria

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lamoe

Guess what Methylene Red does :scratch_head:


 

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https://newatlas.com/methylene-blue-dye-malaria/53280/

According to the World Health Organization, malaria is responsible for approximately 445,000 deaths every year. That number may be due to drop, however, as scientists have found that a human-safe blue dye kills parasites in patients' bloodstreams within two days – that's faster than has ever been possible before.

When a person is bitten by a malaria-carrying mosquito, one-celled malaria parasites enter their red blood cells and split into male and female sex cell parasites known as gametocytes. Should another mosquito then bite that person, they suck up those gametocytes, which mate in their stomach. This results in a batch of new malaria parasites that make their way to the mosquito's salivary glands, where they can infect another person whom the mosquito bites.

Ordinarily, malaria is treated with combination therapies based on the drug artemisinin. Unfortunately, however, even after the treatment ends, the gametocytes can remain in the patient's bloodstream for up to several weeks. This means that any mosquitoes which bite them in that time can still spread the disease to another person.

That's where the methylene blue dye comes in.

In field tests conducted in Mali, it was added to artemisinin-based medication, and was found to eradicate all gametocytes in patients' bloodstreams within as little as 48 hours. The dye is typically used in laboratories to distinguish dead cells from living cells, and was reportedly well-tolerated by the test subjects. It does, however, have one interesting side effect.

"I have used it myself, and it turns your urine bright blue," says lead scientist Teun Bousema, of the Netherlands' Radboud University. "This is something that we need to solve, because it could stop people from using it."

Also taking part in the project were scientists from the University of California - San Francisco, and the Malaria Research and Training Center.

Source: Radboud University

 

 

Problem is no symptoms, so test every day?
 

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https://newatlas.com/malaria-saliva-test-erada-smaart/57892/

Despite advances in malaria treatments over the past few decades, the disease still kills around half a million people globally every year. Finding a better way to diagnose the illness, and subsequently treat it early, is a major goal for scientists. A team of researchers just revealed an innovative new salvia test that promises to quickly and cheaply screen for the presence of malaria parasites up to a week before any symptoms appear.

The only way to confidently diagnose malaria currently is through blood testing, which requires laboratory infrastructures, and well-trained clinicians literally examining the samples using microscopes to detect levels of the parasite. More recently scientists have developed what are called antigen-based "rapid diagnostic tests" (RDTs), which take a skin prick of blood and offer a diagnostic assessment within 20 minutes. While RDTs are hugely helpful in remote areas without access to more comprehensive laboratory services, they are not completely reliable and still require invasive blood sampling.

There have been several recent advances in the way of breath and odor-based markers being used to detect malarial infections. The science is incredibly promising, however, translating these discoveries into a cheap and effective diagnostic tool has proven a little more challenging. Picking up these air-based malaria-signaling compounds with elaborate gas chromatography-mass spectrometry devices is one thing, developing sensitive and cost-effective biosensors that can do the same in remote clinical environments is something else altogether.

"What if we can identify a child before they get sick because there's something in their saliva," says Rhoel Dinglasan, a researcher working on the project from the University of Florida. "If we get to them earlier, they can be cured well before they get the disease."

The new saliva-based malaria test homes in on a specific protein that is vital to the survival of a common malaria parasite called Plasmodium falciparum. The test can identify the presence of the parasite using this protein biomarker in less than 20 minutes after a person spits into a small test tube.

The test is called SMAART (Saliva-based Malaria Asymptomatic and Asexual Rapid Test) and it is being developed by a start-up founded in South Africa called ERADA. Benji Pretorius, ERADA's Managing Director, hopes the test can be rolled out into clinical use as soon as 2020.

"The introduction of SMAART is going to play a major part in achieving effective diagnostic testing and surveillance; as well as prevention and treatment of this disease, and therefore will be a major catalyst in meeting the WHO's 2030 target to reduce malaria incidence and mortality by 90 percent," says Pretorius.

The new research was published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

Sources: University of Florida, ERADA Technology

 

 

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Davaoeno

I cant really imagine anyone saying " oh I would rather die of malaria than have my pee turn blue " ! 

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SkyMan
1 hour ago, Davaoeno said:

I cant really imagine anyone saying " oh I would rather die of malaria than have my pee turn blue " ! 

You have to have an excuse for continued research.  $$$

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