Discovery may save millions
Malaria isn't something most Oklahomans have to worry about, but it's a major health concern for our neighbors in other parts of the world.
Now there may be a cure.
Steve Boyes of National Geographic Expeditions, who has had malaria twice, reports that scientists at the University of Cape Town in South Africa think they have found the solution: a one-dose pill that kills malaria parasites instantly.
Animal tests showed no adverse effects, Boyes reported.
Clinical tests will begin late next year.
“If this tablet is approved in coming years,” Boyes wrote, “this achievement will surely usher in a new age for science in Africa. It will save millions upon millions of lives on the continent, helping avoid at least 24 percent of child deaths in sub-Saharan Africa. …
“This ‘super pill' could potentially cure millions of people every year and save the lives of over one million people from around the world each year. This ‘cure” will most likely save health care systems throughout the developing world billions of dollars and open new areas for development and settlement.”
Humans generally are infected by mosquitoes carrying the malarial parasites, although it can also be passed from mother to unborn child and through blood transfusions.
Symptoms include jaundice, high fevers, shaking and anemia. The ailment can lead to life-threatening complications, including organ failure and internal hemorrhages.
Currently it is treated with a combination of medicines, some of which are decreasing in effectiveness. A one-dose cure that kills the parasites immediately would save lives and alleviate suffering.
Boyes' blog can be found at http://newswatch.nationalgeographic.com.
Ways to help medical patients
GiveForward is a crowd-sourcing website that helps raise money for people in need of medical treatments. Anyone who's had to pay medical bills know how formidable — and depressing — costs can be.
The website offers these tips for supporting the afflicted.
Listen. “Simply lending an ear can mean the world,” the site notes. “Let them express their feelings, even if those feelings are difficult to hear. Oftentimes we're tempted to say, ‘You'll be fine.' … Give heed to their expressions of fear, anger and doubt without offering advice. Just being there can provide more comfort than words.