Navigation Links
Old stain in a new combination

New combinations of agents based on the oldest synthetic malaria drug, the methylene blue stain, can curb the spread of malaria parasites and make a significant contribution to the long-term eradication called for by the international "Roll Back Malaria Initiative." In a study on 160 children with malaria in Burkina Faso, specialists in tropical medicine from the Heidelberg University Hospital have shown that in combination with newer malaria drugs, methylene blue prevents the malaria pathogen in infected persons from being re-ingested by mosquitoes and then transmitted to others and is thus twice as effective as the standard therapy. The results of the study were published in May 2009 in the online journal PLoS One.

Malaria is still one of the deadliest tropical diseases. Every year, 300 million people are infected with malaria and more than one million of them die or suffer severe brain damage. Children under five years are particularly susceptible.

Malaria pathogens need humans and mosquitoes

When the Anopheles mosquito bites, the malaria parasites (plasmodia) in the saliva of the mosquito enter the human body, reproduce in liver cells and then attack the red blood cells. This causes severe symptoms such as high fever or anemia; children in particular can even fall into a coma. During reproduction in the human body, some parasites develop into special reproductive cells, gametocytes. If they are ingested by an Anopheles mosquito, they continue to reproduce in the mosquito. The cycle is complete.

The gametocytes are the key for the spread of malaria by the Anopheles mosquito. Common malaria drugs known as artemisinins block reproduction of the parasites in the human body and reduce the number of gametocytes in blood by half. This makes the transmission of the parasite to the mosquito more difficult but does not completely prevent it. "We urgently need alternative therapies that are effective against the gametocytes and thus improve the control of malaria," states Professor Dr. Olaf Mller, Project Head in the Department of Tropical Medicine and Public Health of the Hygiene Institute at the University of Heidelberg.

Methylene blue prevents transmission to mosquitoes

The appropriate component for such an alternative is a proven agent the methylene blue stain which has been given to malaria patients since the end of the 19th century has proven to be safe, well tolerated, and effective in combination with various malaria medications.

In the current study in Burkina Faso with 160 malaria patients between the ages of six and ten the Heidelberg scientists tested the effect of combination therapies with artemisinins and methylene blue on gametocytes in the blood. One group of the children received the standard treatment, consisting of a combination of artesunate and amodiaquine. Two other groups received methylene blue combined with one of the two drugs respectively. The physicians checked the number of gametocytes in blood samples three, seven, and fourteen days after the start of therapy.

Combination therapy is twice as effective as standard therapy

It was shown that both combination therapies are twice as effective against gametocytes as the standard therapy these parasites had almost completely disappeared in the first few days. "Methylene blue not only inhibits the formation of the reproductive forms, but also destroys already existing cells," explains Professor Mller. "In this way, the profiles of methylene blue and artemisinins, which quickly and effectively eliminate the parasites in the red blood cells, complement each other." Since the study group from Heidelberg has used methylene blue in Western Africa for years, it has already been adequately clinically tested severe or frequent side effects did not occur. Especially important is that the combination makes it more difficult for resistance to artemisinins to develop.

The study is a project in the special research area SFB 544 "Control of Tropical Infectious Diseases" of the German Research Association, to which scientists and physicians from the university hospital and other Heidelberg research centers belong.


Contact: Prof. Olaf Mueller
University Hospital Heidelberg

Related biology news :

1. Grasslands: The future of sustainable agriculture
2. Going bananas for sustainable research -- scientists create fuel from African crop waste
3. K-State biologist collaborating with researchers in Africa on grassland sustainability, biodiversity
4. Organizational Change Management for Sustainability: The Harvard Case Study
5. Biofuels can provide viable, sustainable solution to reducing petroleum dependence
6. Symposium at UH will address how to put sustainability into practice
7. Biggest ever public investment in bioenergy to help provide clean, green and sustainable fuels
8. TXOTX, coordinated international project to contribute to sustainability of the marine resources
9. Abundance of ladybugs in olive orchards is an indicator of health and sustainability
10. Next generation microscopy: No stain, big gain
11. New publishing partnership for Energy for Sustainable Development
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/20/2015)... , November 20, 2015 ... company focused on the growing mobile commerce market and ... Gino Pereira , was recently interviewed on ... will air on this weekend on Bloomberg Europe ... America . --> NXTD ) ("NXT-ID" or ...
(Date:11/17/2015)... 17, 2015 Paris from ... --> Paris from 17 th until ... biometrics innovation leader, has invented the first combined scanner in ... same scanning surface. Until now two different scanners were required: ... can capture both on the same surface. This innovation ...
(Date:11/12/2015)... Nov. 12, 2015  A golden retriever that stayed ... dystrophy (DMD) has provided a new lead for treating ... the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and the ... . Cell, pinpoints a protective ... the disease,s effects. The Boston Children,s lab of ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/30/2015)... Harvard Apparatus Regenerative Technology, Inc. (HART) ... bioengineered organ implants for life-threatening conditions, today announced ... Stock Market that it has regained compliance with ... that as a result of the closing bid ... per share for more than ten consecutive business ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... 30, 2015  Champions Oncology, Inc. (CSBR), engaged in ... personalize the development and use of oncology drugs, today ... will be presenting at the LD MICRO Investor Conference ... Time (PST).  The conference, held at the Luxe Sunset ... , will feature 200 small/micro-cap companies and is ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... -- Aytu BioScience, Inc. (OTCQB: AYTU), a commercial-stage specialty healthcare ... at two upcoming investor conferences. Aytu is scheduled to ... to be held December 3, 2015, and at LD ... 2 nd & 3 rd , 2015 in ... via webcast. Josh Disbrow , Chief Executive ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... ... MarkLogic, the Enterprise NoSQL database platform provider, creating a seamless approach to ... Content Intelligence capabilities provide a robust set of semantic tools which create ...
Breaking Biology Technology: