New weapon in the war on malaria…a bowl of soup
As the winter months slowly start to turn to spring we will all, no doubt, have from time to time this winter warmed ourselves with a hearty, warming and nutritious bowl of soup, but did you know that a bowl of soup is the latest weapon being used in the ongoing fight against the spread of malaria?
Used for generations to fight against flu and colds, the properties of soup have been under investigation by a team of UK scientists who want to see if soup could be useful against the malaria parasite too. The scientists asked pupils at a number of London schools to bring into school meat and vegetable soups that had been made according to recipes passed down through generations of their families. The scientists then incubated extracts from 56 of the recipes for three days together with cultures of the parasite plasmodium falciparum, which causes 99 percent of malaria deaths and is transmitted through an infected mosquito.
Five of the broths curbed growth of the bug by up to 50 percent with two of the soups being as effective as a leading antimalarial drug called dihydroartemisinin.
At the moment it is unclear how the soups could be so effective and research continues, however it must also be noted that some of the soups brought into Eden Primary School in Muswell Hill, London, actually made the parasite grow more quickly.