Cape Times

Viagra found to play stiff role in fight against malaria


PRESCRIBIN­G malaria patients Viagra could help stem the spread of the highly infectious disease, scientists have revealed.

Experts in the field believe the “astonishin­g discovery” could result in a new treatment to prevent spread within a population.

A new study found it is possible to prevent the transmissi­on of malaria parasites from humans to mosquitoes, thereby preventing further spread. The key, researcher­s noted, was the stiffening powers of Viagra.

By using the erectile dysfunctio­n drug to alter the shape of the parasite cell that triggers the disease, they were able to increase the power of the spleen to filter the virus out from the blood.

Researcher­s discovered that by using Viagra they were able to affect a molecular signal, which stiffened the shape of the parasite so that the rigid infected blood cells would be detected and trapped in the spleen.

Study co-author, Professor David Baker, at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said: “We know from previous work in my lab that inhibiting malaria phosphodie­sterase enzymes, or deleting the genes that encode them, can disrupt malaria parasite growth.

“In this new study we show that Viagra, a drug shown to be safe in humans, can make the sexual forms of the malaria parasite stiff. This causes them to be inactivate­d in the spleen and so prevents transmissi­on of the sexual malaria parasites to mosquitoes.” – Daily Mail

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