Malaria breakthrough for city researchers
SCIENTISTS at Edinburgh University have revealed new research that could help treat patients with the deadly disease malaria.
They have discovered that people with blood group "O" are naturally protected from the most severe forms of malaria.
The findings will lead to new research for drugs or vaccines which recreate the protection offered by this blood type, which is common in tropical countries.
Scientists from Edinburgh University and researchers in the US, Mali and Kenya studied African children and found that those with blood type O were two-thirds less likely to fall into a coma or experience life-threatening anaemia - conditions which are characteristic of severe malaria.
The scientists believe that creating drugs or vaccines which mimic the effect of having group O red blood cells could dramatically reduce the severe and often fatal complications associated with malaria.
The disease currently causes up to two million deaths each year.
Dr Alex Rowe, of Edinburgh University's School of Biological Sciences, said: "This discovery explains why some people are less likely to suffer from life- threatening malaria than others, and tells us that if we can develop a drug or a vaccine to reduce rosetting and mimic the effect of being blood group O, we may be able to reduce the number of children dying from severe malaria in sub-Saharan Africa."
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Sunday 19 May 2013
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