In Pictures

  • Detail of plant and red blood cells (some infected with malaria parasites).

Breaking the Cycle: Developing a Whole Plant Therapy to Treat Malaria

Malaria brings misery and death to millions in the developing world each year, and the cycle of resistance to anti-malarial drugs is one of the great health problems facing the world today. UMass Amherst molecular parasitologist Stephen Rich and colleagues report a promising new low-cost combined therapy with a much higher chance of outwitting Plasmodium falciparum, the mosquito-borne parasite that causes the deadliest form of the disease. The results, if they translate to humans with further research, could drastically reduce the high cost associated with malaria treatment by allowing for low cost, locally sustainable production of whole plant therapy. The image above shows a detail of the plant used (Artemisia annua) and a microscopic image of red blood cells, some of which are infected with malaria parasites (those with purple/pink staining). Learn more.

Photo credit: Stephen Rich Research Group