Malaria ‘breakthrough’?

We were pretty excited to see the University of Leicester media release entitled “Breakthrough in the battle against malaria”.

The release‘s subtitle was “Study identifies new ways to kill the human malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum”.

But title/subtitle soon turned out to be little more than hype:

Now researchers have discovered new ways in which the malarial parasite survives in the bloodstream of its victims…

Professor [Christian] Doerig explained “We have shown that a crucial element that is required by malaria parasites to survive in the human blood stream is a group of enzymes called protein kinases. If we stop these proteins kinases from working then we kill the malaria parasites. We are now looking for drugs that do exactly that – stop the protein kinases from working. If we find these drugs then we will have a new way of killing the malaria parasite.” [Emphasis added]

“If we find these drugs” is not a “breakthrough” and If we stop these protein kinases from working” is not a “new way” to kill malaria parasites.

As the release notes,

… malaria currently infects more then 225 million people worldwide and accounts for nearly 800,000 deaths per year. Most deaths occur among children living in Africa where a child dies every 45 seconds of malaria and the disease accounts for approximately 20% of all childhood deaths…

If those living off malaria research charity gave a rat’s ass about malaria victims, they’d more profitably spend their time advocating for the use of DDT and other insecticides — not hyping feel-good nonsense that does nothing to solve the ongoing tragedy.

Read JunkScience.com’s “100 Things You Should Know About DDT”.

Read the University of Leicester media release.

3 responses to “Malaria ‘breakthrough’?

  1. DDT is the best solution. Wonder what the side effects of stopping “the protein kinases from working” would be on the human body. These enzymes likely play some role in humans as well as parasites since they are one of several thousand enzymes in our bodies.

  2. This is more science by news release to justify these grant chasers paycheck.

  3. DDT works but has side effects, one of the old tricks was to spray stagnant water with diesel so that it disrupted the surface tension on the water and therefore drown the mosquito larvae. Again not ideal. But if there is now a solution and would save lives to this then we should go for it

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