About half the world’s population lives in areas at risk of malaria transmission, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Now that the University of Cape Town Science Department thinks they have found a single dose cure for the deadly disease, that number may become much smaller in coming years.
According to National Geographic, the new treatment kills the parasite instantly and is expected to be safe and effective. It has been tested on animals and has resulted a complete cure with just a single dose. Clinical trials will end in 2013 and if effective on humans, has the potential to save millions of lives. Twenty-four percent of child deaths in sub-Saharan Africa alone are due to Malaria.
African regions are clearly the main target for this, but if the cure works well, it also has the potential to cut healthcare expenses around the world from treating those that have been infected while on vacation or doing work overseas.
The South African Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor spoke with National Geographic on the revolutionary breakthrough:
“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.”
In 2008, it is estimated that malaria caused 190-311 million clinical episodes and 708,000 – 1,003,000 deaths worldwide. There is no telling what a cure like this could do for the welfare of people all around the world.
Image courtesy of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention