malaria

Fighting malaria in Northern Peru

When large-scale irrigation came to Peru’s north coast in the 1960s and 1970s it brought with it an explosion in agriculture, in particular rice cultivation. But it also brought a new disease to the area — malaria.

“The north coast is a semi-arid area, the only reason there is malaria there is because of irrigation,” says Andrés Sánchez, a senior program specialist with Canada’s International Development Research Centre, which is supporting a project in the region that could help eliminate the deadly disease. “It’s a man-made problem.”

Fortunately, there’s also a man-made solution. Read more in Canadian Geographic.

2015 Nobel Prize goes to antiparasitic drug discoverers

This year’s Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine is awarded to three researchers from Japan, Ireland, and China who identified treatments for major tropical diseases.

The discoverers of drugs to treat parasitic diseases that predominantly affect people in the developing world have won the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Satoshi Omura, from Kitasato University in Tokyo, Japan, and Irish-born William Campbell, from Drew University in Madison, NJ, USA, shared half of the prize for their work on avermectin and its derivatives, a drug that has proven highly effective against river blindness, lymphatic filariasis, and several other parasitic infections. The other half of the prize went to Youyou Tu, from the China Academy of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Beijing, for her discovery of artemisinin, which forms the backbone of the most effective current treatment for malaria. Read more in The Lancet.