The year saw breakthrough articles on highly successful treatments for sickle cell disease, β-thalassemia, rectal cancer, COVID-19, and malaria, and a terrific bionic pancreas for Type 1 diabetics.
Sepsis, a microbial infection that’s overwhelming, remains one of the most significant sources of morbidity and mortality. In the U.S., “black individuals” have both a greater risk of hospitalization and death than their “white” counterparts. While exposure and susceptibility may have roots in socioeconomic disparity, a new paper suggests that genetics may influence outcomes more than disparate care.
For a simple drug, there sure is a lot of controversy surrounding hydroxychloroquine -- a malaria drug that's one of a handful of repurposed drugs being evaluated as potential anti-coronavirus treatments. However, hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) doesn't look especially promising. Dr. Katherine Seley-Radtke, Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County, explains.
When there is little if any money to be made curing a disease, non-profits could come to the rescue.
One final observation on our great post-war successes in controlling malaria by targeting its vector, the Anopheles mosquito. By using that most marvelous insecticide DDT, we were beginning to gain the upper hand in our conquest of malaria as clearly demonstrated in the table below. Country Malaria occurrence per annum prior to introduction of DDT Malaria occurrence per annum after the introduction of DDT Sardinia
One method widely used to control malaria is providing families with insecticide-treated bed nets. Overall, this strategy is very successful, having halting hundreds of millions of cases over the past 15 years. In some parts of the world, however, mosquitoes "learn" to avoid bed nets by biting people earlier in the day.
The innovations of Dr. Henry Heimlich extended well beyond his famed anti-choking maneuver. The Heimlich Chest Drain Valve gets blood and air out of the chest cavity of soldiers shot there. He also developed the Heimlich MicroTrach, a tiny tube providing certain advantages to delivering oxygen into the trachea, and effectively the lungs.
A study in the Malaria Journal suggests that chickens may be helpful in the fight against malaria. Unlike humans who in the United States last year consumed 90 pounds of chicken each, mosquitos are a bit fussier. Who knew?
Researchers have been able to identify a gene that determines maleness in mosquitoes, and if that were introduced into females it could potentially help wipe out the vector for the Zika virus infection. This method could also be applied to fighting other diseases such as yellow fever, Dengue and Chikungunya.
The mosquito-borne Zika virus has been declared a global public health crisis by the World Health Organization, but the agency did not say how to effectively fight it. One way would be to allow widespread use of DDT, which eradicated that same mosquito during the 20th century.
In Brazil, a new viral infection called Zika is doing great harm. It's causing an epidemic of severe birth defects, so much so that doctors are advising women to delay becoming pregnant. There is no treatment for it, although in non-pregnant victims the symptoms are not terribly severe.
Roughly 200 million people contract the malarial parasite annually, and in 2013 malaria was the cause of 500,000 deaths worldwide. According to a recent study, a new genetic engineering technique is showing great promise in eliminating the mosquitos that carry the deadly disease.