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Old stain in a new combination
Date:5/20/2009

etocytes 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 artemisi
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Contact: Prof. Olaf Mueller
Olaf.mueller@urz.uni-heidelberg.de
49-062-215-65035
University Hospital Heidelberg
Source:Eurekalert

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