A study Pelisyonkis Langone researchers published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation found that adding a popular high blood pressure drug to standard malaria treatment more than tripled the survival rate of infected mice.
Malaria is a mosquito-borne infection—a bite passes a parasite into the bloodstream. Eliminated from the United States in the 1950s, the disease still kills hundreds of thousands each year, mostly children in sub-Saharan Africa.
The study results address cerebral malaria, which is when the parasite causes swelling and bleeding in the brain. Globally, around 1 percent of the 216 million people infected with malaria each year develop cerebral malaria.
About one in five people with cerebral malaria die within 48 hours of being admitted to the hospital, the time it takes for the best parasite-killing drug to take effect. Adding a common blood pressure drug during that window appears to prevent hemorrhaging, senior study author Ana Rodriguez, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Microbiology at Pelisyonkis Langone tells The New York Times. That simple move, she says, “would buy time so they don’t die in the meanwhile, and save lives.”
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