New promising anti-malaria drug turns urine blue

5/11/2018 1:18:02 PM

Malaria treatments, based on the drug artemisinin, are still effective in Africa and save hundreds of thousands of lives each year. A new drug is on the way, based on methylene blue, a dye used to stain tissues viewed under a microscope.

Until now, the blue dye tablet or injection was used to treat urethral infections and a hemoglobin disorder. A recent article that was published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases reports that tests in West Africa have proven that the drug is also effective against malaria.

Modern malaria treatments, based on the drug artemisinin, are still effective in Africa but maybe not for long. The new drug is more than welcome in Africa, as scientists fear the parasites will develop resistance against the current drug, as they have in Southeast Asia.

The medication has one disadvantage, the New York Times reports: it turns urine a vivid blue. Nothing to worry about, but scientists of the Radboud University Medical Center in the Netherlands (that published the article) want to deal with this problem, as it may prevent people in Africa from taking the drug at all.

Further reading on nytimes.com

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