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One Death Every Minute

3.4 billion people live at risk of contracting a malarial infection. In 2010, 660,000 people died from this disease, to which pregnant women are quite vulnerable, and which causes low birth weights for people in developing countries. WHO estimates that a child in Africa dies from malaria every minute.

We may have found a powerful tool to stop this disease, however. On December 5th, 2014 a compound, (+)-SJ733, developed from a research based at St. Jude’s Research Hospital has proven to disrupt the malarial bacterium’s sodium balance. This enables the human immune system to identify the bacterium as a threat and then allow the body to eliminate it.

This trial was performed on malarial-infected mice. Within 24 hours, 80% of the infected cells were eliminated, and in 48 hours not a trace of the bacterium remained in the mice.

If this drug works successfully in possible human trials, it could save millions of lives. We may be on the brink of eliminating malaria for good.

Written by Sid Menon’17


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