Oncology & Cancer

Using sponges to wipe out cancer

A sponge found in Manado Bay, Indonesia, makes a molecule called manzamine A, which stops the growth of cervical cancer cells, according to a recent publication in the Journal of Natural Products submitted by researchers ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Amid COVID-19 crisis, blood donor restrictions eased

(HealthDay)—America is in urgent need of blood donations during the COVID-19 pandemic, so the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Thursday it will relax donor restrictions placed on gay and bisexual men and others.

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Using prediction models to manage the coronavirus outbreak

The COVID-19 pandemic poses an unprecedented challenge for policymakers across Europe, given the pace at which its effects are unfolding. The current coronavirus outbreak marks the return of an old and familiar enemy. Nothing ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Senegal says hydroxychloroquine virus treatment is promising

Senegal is set to continue administering hydroxychloroquine to coronavirus patients, a senior health official said Thursday, after encouraging results for those treated with the venerable anti-malarial drug.

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Use malaria drugs only for virus emergencies: EU agency

Anti-malarial drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine should only be used to treat COVID-19 in clinical trials or in case of "national emergency", the European Medicine Agency warned Wednesday.

Medications

Cancer drugs show promise in preventing malaria

A potential new approach for preventing malaria is on the horizon with the discovery that drugs currently used to kill cancer cells can also kill malaria-infected liver cells.

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Malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease of humans and other animals caused by eukaryotic protists of the genus Plasmodium. The disease results from the multiplication of Plasmodium parasites within red blood cells, causing symptoms that typically include fever and headache, in severe cases progressing to coma or death. It is widespread in tropical and subtropical regions, including much of Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, and the Americas.

Five species of Plasmodium can infect and be transmitted by humans. Severe disease is largely caused by Plasmodium falciparum while the disease caused by Plasmodium vivax, Plasmodium ovale, and Plasmodium malariae is generally a milder disease that is rarely fatal. Plasmodium knowlesi is a zoonosis that causes malaria in macaques but can also infect humans.

Malaria transmission can be reduced by preventing mosquito bites by distribution of mosquito nets and insect repellents, or by mosquito-control measures such as spraying insecticides and draining standing water (where mosquitoes breed). Despite a clear need, no vaccine offering a high level of protection currently exists. Efforts to develop one are ongoing. A number of medications are also available to prevent malaria in travelers to malaria-endemic countries (prophylaxis).

A variety of antimalarial medications are available. Severe malaria is treated with intravenous or intramuscular quinine or, since the mid-2000s, the artemisinin derivative artesunate, which is superior to quinine in both children and adults. Resistance has developed to several antimalarial drugs, most notably chloroquine.

There were an estimated 225 million cases of malaria worldwide in 2009. An estimated 655,000 people died from malaria in 2010, a 5% decrease from the 781,000 who died in 2009 according to the World Health Organization's 2011 World Malaria Report, accounting for 2.23% of deaths worldwide. Ninety percent of malaria-related deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa, with ~60% of deaths being young children under the age of five. Plasmodium falciparum, the most severe form of malaria, is responsible for the vast majority of deaths associated with the disease. Malaria is commonly associated with poverty, and can indeed be a cause of poverty and a major hindrance to economic development.

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