Because mosquitoes carry diseases like malaria and dengue fever, and irritate us, humans do a lot to avoid them. In most places people have to fend for themselves against the pests by sleeping under mosquito nets or using repellant. A number of new repellant formulas have hit the market in recent years, many with questionable efficacy. Researchers at New Mexico State University decided to compare the effectiveness of different repellants and perfumes, according to a study published recently in the Journal of Insect Science.
Since it first came on the market in 1998, Viagra has been found to address more conditions than just erectile dysfunction—it treats hypertension, altitude sickness, and prostate cancer. Now a team of European researchers has found that everyone's favorite little blue pill can prevent malaria because of the way an enzyme affects red blood cells, according to a study published in PLOS Pathogens.
In 2013, almost 600,000 people died of malaria, a disease caused by a parasite passed to humans through mosquito bites. But these deaths--mostly among children in Africa--are preventable. For years researchers have been working on different tactics to reduce malaria's prevalence, such as creating innovative drugs or highly effective repellants as well as engineering the mosquitoes themselves to prevent the disease from spreading. After four years of tests on thousands of infants and children, an anti-malarial vaccine has emerged as one of the most promising candidates to prevent the spread of the disease. The results of the clinical trial are published this week in The Lancet.
All you have to do is write in. A nonprofit malaria research organization, the Medicines for Malaria Venture, is offering boxes for free that each contain samples of 200 substances that the venture has determined are promising as malaria cures. The Malaria Boxis meant to be a starting point for researchers at universities or small companies, who wouldn't otherwise have access to a starting ground of 200 promising molecules.
Malaria is the scourge of tropical nations, crippling its victims with symptoms like debilitating fever, convulsions and nausea, and killing half a million people annually. Now researchers in South Africa say they may have a one-size-fits-all solution, in the form of a new drug that could work with just one dose.