The University of Cape Town Science Department thinks they may have found a single dose cure for malaria. Conventional multi-drug malaria treatments are cumbersome and the malaria parasite can become resistant to them. This new treatment kills the parasite instantly, according to National Geographic.
Researchers think that the single dose is safe and effective. Clinical trials are scheduled to end in 2013. This new treatment could save millions of lives on the continent per year--in all, nearly 24 percent of child deaths in sub-Saharan Africa.
Researcher Kelly Chibale explains to the magazine:
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.
The Super Pill
This super pill could also save healthcare expenses throughout the world from treating those that have contracted malaria in various parts of the world, though Africa is certainly a hotspot.
The South African Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor said to National Geographic:
This is a powerful demonstration of how much can be accomplished when open-minded researchers come together for the sake of the greater good of humanity. The discovery that we announce today is a significant victory in the battle to alleviate the burden of disease in Africa. Clearly the war on disease is not yet won, but I am excited by the role that our excellent scientists have played in finding a potential single-dose cure for malaria and possibly preventing its transmission.
According to the CDC:
- -3.3 billion people (half the world’s population) live in areas at risk of malaria transmission in 109 countries and territories.
- -35 countries (30 in sub-Saharan Africa and 5 in Asia) account for 98% of global malaria deaths.
- -WHO estimates that in 2008 malaria caused 190 - 311 million clinical episodes, and 708,000 - 1,003,000 deaths.