MONDAY, JUNE 18, 2018

Crime scene compound may treat malaria

Crime scene compound may treat malaria
Crime scene compound may treat malaria | Courtesy of
Detectives use a compound to spray crime scenes for trace amounts of blood, and in the future this compound may be used to kill the parasite that causes malaria.

Scientists from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have demonstrated that using this compound allows them to manipulate red blood cells with malaria to stockpile a chemical that is triggered by the glow of luminol. Luminol, which is part of the compound, glows as a blue color when it touches hemoglobin from red blood cells.

To do this, the researchers injected red blood cells that have malaria with a unique amino acid. The glow of the luminol then triggers the chemical to kill the malarial parasite.

"The light that luminol emits is enhanced by the antimalarial drug artemisinin," Daniel Goldberg, professor of medicine and molecular microbiology, said. "We think these agents could be combined to form an innovative treatment for malaria. All of these agents -- the amino acid, the luminol and artemisinin -- have been cleared for use in humans individually, so we are optimistic that they won't present any safety problems together. This could be a promising new treatment for a devastating disease."

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Washington University

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