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Promising New Drug May Cure Malaria

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the take-that-mosquitoes dept.

Medicine 190

Diggester writes "Researchers at the University of Cape Town in South Africa have developed a pill that can wipe out malaria with a single dose. It's a development that could save millions of lives in Africa alone, not to mention the rest of the world. But there's a teensy weensy little hurdle that must first be overcome: human testing. According to National Geographic, 'Clinical tests are scheduled for the end of 2013. If this tablet is approved in coming years, this achievement will surely usher in a new age for science in Africa. It will save millions upon millions of lives on the continent, helping avoid at least 24 percent of child deaths in sub-Saharan Africa.'"

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ZOMBIES!!!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Erythros (140001) | about 2 years ago | (#41188813)

Let The Zombie Apocalypse BEGIN!!!!!

Re:ZOMBIES!!!!! (4, Insightful)

ciderbrew (1860166) | about 2 years ago | (#41189227)

When they "cure" 95% of the Malaria. It does leave room for the drug resistant strain to thrive. Not that it is a problem as the 95% is killing the poor people regardless. I hope BIll get to spend his Billions buying up the world supply and giving out if it works. Good legacy to go out with.

Re:ZOMBIES!!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41190305)

Has NOBODY seen "I AM LEGEND"?

Unless you can give everyone birth control.... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41188817)

... they'll all die of starvation anyway.

I do think this is a positive development, but it's going to have to be followed up with some pretty intense education and condom dispersal in order to actually help things.

Re:Unless you can give everyone birth control.... (2)

Erythros (140001) | about 2 years ago | (#41188833)

There are MANY Visitors to Africa that would certainly be pleased to not have to worry so much about Malaria.

Re:Unless you can give everyone birth control.... (1)

Dripdry (1062282) | about 2 years ago | (#41188845)

Right, but the actual human toll, the suffering it will cause because Africa is so poor, is that suddenly made alright since tourists have one less deadly disease to worry about?

Re:Unless you can give everyone birth control.... (4, Insightful)

silentcoder (1241496) | about 2 years ago | (#41189133)

>Right, but the actual human toll, the suffering it will cause because Africa is so poor, is that suddenly made alright since tourists have one less deadly disease to worry about?

In a round-about way, it actually might be. Tourism is one of the largest single sources of foreign capital in most African countries. Indeed for quite a few it's their single largest export- and creates a market that has among the lowest barriers of entry for some of it (anybody can set up a curio stall with relatively little start-up capital and no need to afford expensive business locales).

So more tourists would mean less starvation.

Re:Unless you can give everyone birth control.... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41189255)

No, more tourists and less malaria will result in a population exploding until it starts to get slowed down by starvation again.

Seriously. What is needed is education and control facilities, and a complete reversal of the hilariously ridiculous idea that endless exponential growth is the ideal to strive for (that goes for the entire world, not just Africa).

TEENSY WEENSY teensy weensy TEENSY WEENSY????!!!! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41190231)

REALLY? You REALLY posted this on the front page? OF COURSE Soulskill would post a summary submitted by "DiggEster." Teensy weensy? Aren't we supposed to HAVE SOME PROFESSIONALISM HERE?

Why should I be surprised? If Roblimo or Soulskill came out and took pictures and video of themselves as timothy finally had pulled off, you would understand what FLAMING DOUCHES (gasoline douche ftw) these guys are. Teensy weensy. I bet that Soulskill has a "journalism" degree as well.

What has civilization degraded to?

Re:Unless you can give everyone birth control.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41189145)

They'll eat all those fat and stupid Americans....

Solving two of the world's biggest problems at the same time!

Re:Unless you can give everyone birth control.... (1)

Hatta (162192) | about 2 years ago | (#41189941)

Increasing the health and productivity of the African workforce is going to cause suffering how exactly?

Re:Unless you can give everyone birth control.... (1, Offtopic)

Joce640k (829181) | about 2 years ago | (#41189449)

There are MANY Visitors to Africa that would certainly be pleased to not have to worry so much about Malaria.

All we need now is a pill to wipe out the TSA...

Re:Unless you can give everyone birth control.... (2, Insightful)

jolyonr (560227) | about 2 years ago | (#41188853)

... they'll all die of starvation anyway.

Maybe a bit overdramatic - but the truth is that overpopulation is every bit as much of a problem as climate change - if not more so.

One could argue these two problems may eventually even each other out - but I wouldn't like to think of that as any kind of positive solution.

Re:Unless you can give everyone birth control.... (3, Insightful)

Ambassador Kosh (18352) | about 2 years ago | (#41188961)

You could even say that they are coupled problems. If our population was not so large we would not have the kinds of climate change problems we are having.

In many ways I think we (the west) are kind of like the greek gods in many myths. We often intend to help and do try to help but our attempts to help just make the situation worse because of unintended consequences.

We notice that a country has starving people so we send them food. So then there are more people and their water table and other natural resources start to fail because of increased usage. We also notice more of them die from various diseases so we send cures for that which increases pressure even more.

The basic problem I see is that you can't use western technology without also having things like western birthrates or you can have some pretty nasty consequences. I think that as we try to help africa all we are really doing right now is increasing how many people will eventually die when they exceed what we can do to try to and an unsustainable situation going.

I am not saying we can never help people from other cultures but we have to be vastly more careful about it and realize that our technology does not exist in isolation and it is instead part of our culture and often our culture operates as a kind of control on the usage of technology. If you just hand that technology to another culture they may not have the controls for it and it can cause massive damage.

Re:Unless you can give everyone birth control.... (4, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#41189003)

Western technology is what caused western birthrates.

You have the whole thing backwards.

Re:Unless you can give everyone birth control.... (3, Insightful)

Ambassador Kosh (18352) | about 2 years ago | (#41189157)

Many parts of western technology caused western birthrates, not taking one or two pieces in isolation.

It was our food system along with education, the industrial revolution, health care and many other factors that have led to lower birth rates. You can't just take only our food technology and give it to someone else and expect it to work out.

Re:Unless you can give everyone birth control.... (4, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#41189233)

Yes, which is why adding in this treatment gets them closer no farther away from low birth rates.

They need more western technology not less.

They need roads, schools, air conditioning, etc. Much like those places we are fighting in now, making sure those places had comfortable folks working 9-5 would solve a lot of problems for everyone.

Re:Unless you can give everyone birth control.... (1, Insightful)

Ambassador Kosh (18352) | about 2 years ago | (#41189341)

That is why I think we should be very careful. We don't want to make problems even worse.

I would probably give this to them with strings attached like attending school for a year, teaching them about birth control, making it freely available, helping setup sustainable ways they can help themselves etc.

I am not saying we should not do this. I think we need to be extremely careful and try to think through our decisions not just hand out technology like candy and hope that eventually we hand out enough and the problem finally solves itself.

Re:Unless you can give everyone birth control.... (4, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#41189421)

Perfection is the enemy of good. We can do this, we cannot reasonably do what you suggest.

Birth control is already widely available in Africa, most African nations have some form of public education and many are working towards sustainability. Within 50 years they will have negative population growth.

Your entire set of comments sounds like "White Man's Burden" to me. I suggest you study the continent and the problems it faces before suggesting the world treat them like savages.

Re:Unless you can give everyone birth control.... (2)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#41189911)

haha, not unless there culture undergoes a massive shift it it's very core.
Birth control is available, but there is s stigma. We are talking about places where anytime a something comes up to give women power over reproduction.
And of course the Chinese are buying them up like crazy, so I expect they will soon be under paid miners and farmers.

". I suggest you study the continent and the problems it faces"
right back at you.

Re:Unless you can give everyone birth control.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41189497)

I would probably give this to them with strings attached

Wow! So you would give them life-saving medicine only on the condition that they take birth control classes?
Would you propose similar restrictions on medical care in the West?

Re:Unless you can give everyone birth control.... (1)

Garridan (597129) | about 2 years ago | (#41189849)

<sarcasm>Naw... white couples never have more than 2 babies, 'cause we're all rational scientists that understand the fundamental problem of exponential population growth in a 3D reality with a universal speed limit. If we kill off all the off-white folk who think and behave differently, the only rational scientists will survive. Why did the eugenics fad die out, anyway? I can't quite recall, and I'm too lazy to lmgtfy it.</sarcasm>

Re:Unless you can give everyone birth control.... (5, Insightful)

dywolf (2673597) | about 2 years ago | (#41190179)

"Here's a pill that can save your life Jonny...but first you have to promise to be good! Otherwise you can go die like all the rest."

Seriously dude. WTF. Save the lives first. The rest comes naturally. The tighter you try to control it, the worse it will be. Just save the lives first. Then out of neccesity things start happening. So many of Africa's problems simply stem from lack of hope, lack of value of existence cause so many people simply expect to die by age 20. This is the first step to breaking that chain, and to place conditions upon it is unbelievably stupid, even evil.

Re:Unless you can give everyone birth control.... (1)

kenorland (2691677) | about 2 years ago | (#41189383)

And along the way to our wealth and low birthrates, a lot of people died of starvation, wars, and disease. Europe was in the grip of these evils well into the 20th century.

Horrible as what is happening in Africa may seem, Western societies went through worse. It's nice that we're trying to help them, and I think it is having a positive impact, but it's naive to think that we can ever make development happen without also incurring great loss and sacrifice.

Re:Unless you can give everyone birth control.... (2)

Forty Two Tenfold (1134125) | about 2 years ago | (#41189481)

Western way of life caused western birthrates.

Re:Unless you can give everyone birth control.... (2)

wbr1 (2538558) | about 2 years ago | (#41189663)

Western technology is what caused western birthrates.

You have the whole thing backwards.

Wrong punchy.
Education lowers birthrates. Not western tech. You can feed, cure, and entertain to your hearts content, but it is teaching people, particularly girls and women, that causes them not to pop out 20 babies.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fertility_and_intelligence [wikipedia.org]
http://www.earth-policy.org/data_highlights/2011/highlights13 [earth-policy.org]
http://econlog.econlib.org/archives/2010/07/from_the_cuttin_2.html [econlib.org]

Re:Unless you can give everyone birth control.... (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#41189685)

You cannot have education until you have the free time for that.

Re:Unless you can give everyone birth control.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41189543)

Western birth rates are a consequence of western technology. As technology increased lifetime security, people needed fewer children to look after them in old age. As technology reduced child death rates, people needed to make fewer children to get an adult child. The same logic is already driving down birth rates in less developed nations. An end to malaria would make a short term boom in population, but would go a long way to causing a long term collapse in birth rates.

Re:Unless you can give everyone birth control.... (2, Informative)

jimicus (737525) | about 2 years ago | (#41188907)

One of the biggest reasons for having lots of children is because so many die in infancy.

Something similar was the case in the Western world as recently as the late 19th century - while it may be difficult to dig out reliable records, things like old family bibles are a great way to learn about children who only lived maybe a couple of years. If your family has anything like this, you might be surprised how many aunts and uncles you would have if they'd all survived.

Re:Unless you can give everyone birth control.... (0)

Ambassador Kosh (18352) | about 2 years ago | (#41189079)

We should really not have given them all the food and other technology we did without also requiring birth control. Western technology is not really suited for high population levels and by giving them our technology without the culture that goes with it we pushed them into a pretty nasty situation.

Without our help their populations could not have reached such high levels which causes a great deal of other problems and causes a cycle of needing even more help. It is even possible that because we interfered that we basically made AIDS the epidemic that it became. By helping them (inadvertently) massively increase their populations they lived in much closer proximity and also relied more on bush meat including primates which is considered one of the likely sources for AIDS in the first place.

It is horrible to have anyone starve and we do need to figure out ways to help but we have setup a situation where we have to keep helping on a larger and larger scale or even more will starve and every time we repeat that cycle without lowering the populating growth rates we are only making the problem worse. What I think will happen is at some point the western countries are going to withdraw support for the area since they have too many things to take care of for themselves and there will be far more that will die in africa than could ever be possible without our help. The wars will be very bloody and many will die from starvation and fighting and in the end it will be our fault even though the outcome was not intentional.

Re:Unless you can give everyone birth control.... (4, Insightful)

higuita (129722) | about 2 years ago | (#41189083)

Not all African countries have food problems... not all have wars... not all have democratic problems... and finally, malaria isnt restricted to Africa, it exits in south and central america and asia as you can see here [wikipedia.org] . And of course, there are countries where malaria is a higher danger than others.

Reducing the death rate usually increase the stability of the regions in middle term (people have more to lose) and in a long term, birth rate is also decreased. Europe and North America showed this and right now, Asia is already in that way.

Either way, this will help all and if sucess, will plug a huge unsolved problem (mostly because first world countries have no malaria, so almost no research is committed to find a cure for it)

ague (2)

SgtChaireBourne (457691) | about 2 years ago | (#41189533)

Actually it used to be quite common in parts of the US as well. It used to be called ague [merriam-webster.com] . I'm not sure of it's original range, but I think it was even as far north as Ohio. There are variants like avian malaria which have been a barrier to reintroducing eagles [eagles.org] and other species.

Re:Unless you can give everyone birth control.... (0)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 2 years ago | (#41189129)

the hell cares? Why do we need clinical tests anyway? These people are dying; feed them a pill and if it kills them, well who gives a shit? They were gonna die horribly anyway. Back to the drawing board. And if it works, well there you go! Human testing at its finest!

Re:Unless you can give everyone birth control.... (3, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#41189171)

Because malaria does not kill all its victims?
Or this drug may not even cure malaria in humans.

Are you this dense or just a big fan of Mengele?

Re:Unless you can give everyone birth control.... (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 2 years ago | (#41189391)

We have a profile for a large number of victims that die from a disease. Young children, elderly, other weak people.

We can get stats here. Does this kill 80% of children under 5 years of age? Then we're 80% likely to do no damage; or rather, with a sample of say 100 for testing, we're likely to cause 20 deaths. A sample of 100 trials seems useful; 20 deaths seems not so great. If we're talking on the scale of tens of thousands per year, or hundreds of thousands, 20 deaths isn't a big deal. That assumes 100% ineffective treatment and 100% fatality from a bad drug, which is a large assumption; if it's 50% effective and 50% fatal, you actually get a net gain: 10 inappropriate deaths (effectiveness doesn't save those who would live anyway), 20 survivors who would live anyway (50% die from the drug, 50% of those who don't die get cured, that's 25% of 80 which is 20), overall 10 more people alive BUT this treatment is no good because it's poisonous.

If you miss totally on this 5 times, you might cause 100 deaths. Big deal, even for 1 year. If you've got a cure that's flaky, it's russian roulette with magic healing bullets alternating with the real bullets. If you eventually clear out the "kills people sometimes" part, suddenly it's worth just handing out to everybody en masse. If you actually make it highly effective from further tests ... well, ok, that's just "an improvement," but we've already got something that's giving us a net return on investment in human life.

In this scenario, where a disease has a high mortality rate amongst a specific population, human testing costs very little in human lives yet allows more rapid assessment of the effects of the drug. It allows us to stop worrying about whether it's "safe" and skip the part where we spend years testing on rats and gerbils and clumps of cells in petri dishes and just bite the bullet and let a few volunteers risk it. If a few volunteers get bad juju, and we fix it, then the cost is minimal and the return is we save millions of people who would otherwise have died.

Of course, ETHICALLY, it's much more HUMAN to let millions of people die than sacrifice ten or fifteen along the way that would have probably died horribly anyway. It's just not right to let people die like that, better to let a hundred thousand times as many people die and protect your feelings of self-righteousness. Feelings of self-righteousness are far more valuable than human life.

Re:Unless you can give everyone birth control.... (0)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#41189467)

What if it only kills the 20% that malaria would not have killed? Yay! we caused a 100% death rate. It was only 20 kids though, and since none of them were your kid I guess that is ok with you.

Of course testing it on poor coloreds is a OK, Never mind that we developed these testing protocols over a long period and now you think you know better than those with actual education.

Re:Unless you can give everyone birth control.... (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#41190039)

Stop. Stop turning into a race thing. The poster just has no clue of science, the actually reasons for controlled trials. There is nothing there to indicate otherwise. Don't bring in topics that aren't part of the discussion. You look like a jerk who has to rely on making up emotional statements instead of facts and logic.

Re:Unless you can give everyone birth control.... (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#41190077)

Sorry, but I actually think the poster is both ignorant and a racist. As racists often are.

These articles about Africa bring them out of the wood work. Half the posts on this article might as well be quoting White Man's Burden.

Re:Unless you can give everyone birth control.... (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#41190011)

So you make up figures and then base it off your made up figures.

Science Fail.

"Feelings of self-righteousness are far more valuable than human life."\
No. without proper science you may end up in a place where you are not SURE if it works, so you have people spending their money on an ineffective treatment instead of finding an effective treatment.
Using you(gross) example. What if during handing this out in uncontrolled condition 55% of the children die? did it help? was it something else? was it a statistical anomaly? what other variable are there?

What if 95% of the children? same questions.

Lets do the science so we are reasonably sure.

Re:Unless you can give everyone birth control.... (4, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | about 2 years ago | (#41189161)

Birth control is made widely available in Africa, and population growth there is slowing at what can only be called a reasonable rate(i.e. current population kinda high, first derivative also kinda high, second derivative healthy negative). Your perspective is a common one towards Africa, and, in general, a kind of racist, imperialistic one.

Re:Unless you can give everyone birth control.... (2)

the gnat (153162) | about 2 years ago | (#41189633)

Birth control is made widely available in Africa, and population growth there is slowing at what can only be called a reasonable rate(i.e. current population kinda high, first derivative also kinda high, second derivative healthy negative). Your perspective is a common one towards Africa, and, in general, a kind of racist, imperialistic one.

Every time I read comments like the GP, I wonder if the same people would also have objected to distributing the smallpox vaccine in Africa.

Re:Unless you can give everyone birth control.... (1)

tverbeek (457094) | about 2 years ago | (#41189191)

In addition to your (probably racist) assumptions about the intelligence and self-restraint of people in sub-Saharan Africa, you apparently don't understand population dynamics. A large part of the reason people in poor countries produce as many children as they do is the high mortality rate. If there's a 1-in-8 chance of each of your children dying before the age of 5, and higher that they'll die before adulthood, you have an incentive to produce more children than you would if they were almost certain to survive. Children aren't just bundles of joy to bring meaning to their lives (like in the post-industrial West), they're also future workers to support the family and take care of them in their old age. Take away one of the leading causes of childhood death, and they'll produce fewer children.

Re:Unless you can give everyone birth control.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41189493)

Exactly. Bill Gates cites this as a reason he is so for vaccinations. It will help decrease the population because a greater percentage of kids will survive, and so the parents will have less.

Re:Unless you can give everyone birth control.... (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#41190155)

"the reason people in poor countries produce as many children as they do is the high mortality rate. "
no. It's high buy US standards, but it's not so high as to need to have 8 kids.
There is a culture issue about having kids, and women in Africa have it really hard when it comes to controlling their reproduction.

FYI infant mortality in Sub saharan region is 80 per 1000 as of Jan '08

Re:Unless you can give everyone birth control.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41189193)

Soooo dumb. There's a strong correlation between high infant mortality and high fertility rates. There's also a strong correlation between low fertility rates and high GDP per capita. One of the best ways to attack population growth (and boost economic output) is to decrease infant mortality (see here [jstor.org] and here [wikipedia.org] for just a couple examples).

People don't need to have a million babies when the babies don't keep dying. Also having your babies die really sucks. Also when you only have to get pregnant twice to make two new people, instead of 3 or 4 or 6 times, you spend a lot more time working and learning, and a lot less time sitting around pregnant and nursing kids.

Besides (and I'm just assuming you're from america, maybe not) we aren't exactly a shining example of women's rights and birth control right at the moment, at least not if certain (white, male) parties got their way. So let's not trash talk africa (who we, the west, are mostly responsible for effing up in the first place) until we fix our own crap.

Re:Unless you can give everyone birth control.... (1)

Forty Two Tenfold (1134125) | about 2 years ago | (#41189423)

intense education and condom dispersal

You'd need a religion eradication procedure/pill to precede that.

Re:Unless you can give everyone birth control.... (1)

jandersen (462034) | about 2 years ago | (#41189619)

... they'll all die of starvation anyway.

One of the reasons why people in the developing world get so many children is the high child mortatlity. I doubt any family (outside certain religious circles) actually wants to shoulder the very significant burden of bringing up many children to adulthood. If you are confident that your children will survive, then it makes much more sense to invest your efforts in just a few.

Re:Unless you can give everyone birth control.... (2)

daem0n1x (748565) | about 2 years ago | (#41190369)

As long as the fundamentalist Protestant preachers and wacky Catholic missionaries from America and Europe get the fuck out of Africa and leave people alone with their stupid ideas about contraception being a sin and abstinence being the only way.

Those guys should go to jail. Their stupid ideas have probably killed millions of people already. They like to preach in Africa because nobody listens to them in their home countries (well, maybe in the USA).

A great step forward (1, Troll)

GeekWithAKnife (2717871) | about 2 years ago | (#41188865)

An even greater step forward would be to stem the violence, ignorance about birth control, contraceptives and STDs/STIs. Saving lives is great, it would be even better if those lives are not condemned from the start. Well, I guess we'll sort out Africa one step at a time...for today, I'll drink to this cure and all the people it will help.

Re:A great step forward (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#41188957)

Saving lives will help with all of that.
My reducing infant mortality, less children will be born. This means more access to resources for each child that is born.

Re:A great step forward (1, Insightful)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 2 years ago | (#41189239)

Holy shit there's a huge logical disconnect here. You seem to be assuming family planning--people have children because they want children, rather than because they want sex and children happen. Sex is a great way for poor people to get the things they need, children just come out of women somehow afterwards. Also people have the impulse to just ... have sex. Are these people really family planning, or is this all unplanned pregnancy? By saving lives, maybe we're creating an even bigger resource drain.

Re:A great step forward (1)

Laglorden (87845) | about 2 years ago | (#41189359)

Yes they are (family planning). Maybe you shouldn't think most people are as dumb as you are?

The "if we cure [disease] then more people are going to survive more people will be exist" is false and have proven to be false again and again in reality. It's only true for real stone-age condtions. The number of people living in those conditions today are 100.000 in total and not statistically significant.

The reality today are are that the more people we save and the more people that get access to medicin, helth care and so on the LESS people will be born and this will REDUCE total population, not the other way around.

In the same way, wars also increase population.

For more on this search for examples of Hans Rosling speeches.

Re:A great step forward (2)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#41190219)

"Yes they are (family planning)."
HAHAHAHA.. mostly.. no.

" to be false again and again in reality. "
nope. There are places whose population continue to grow as there infant mortality rate decrease..sub Saharan area come ti mind.

The BIGGEST reason western country birth rate drops is a culture where women have a say in reproduction. That is not the case in a lot of sub Saharan

TO not take in the cultures, woman's rights, distractions into account so, quite frankly, stupid.

Re:A great step forward (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#41189509)

There is no logical disconnect, only reality and history proving me right.

Not everyone is as dumb as you, and the fact that you think poor people are like that tells me far more about you.

Re:A great step forward (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#41190303)

Then why has removing other disease from the sub Saharan region not lowered birth rate?

You are looking at a single correlating fact and determining a causal relationship.

It's about women rights over reproduction, it's about distractions(TV, et. al), and, yes improved health.
AS long as a women can't say no, or is shunned for using birth control, birthrate will remain high. It's almost like its a messy human condition or something.

Re: Drink to the Cure (0)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | about 2 years ago | (#41189269)

Actually, you have the spark of a brilliant business plan. "Pill"? How incredibly boring. Is it that unstable? Make it into a drink! Charge whatever you wanted for it, (price of the pill plus bar markup for the entertainment).

You could have a "Malaria Killer Drink". But no, we like things Safe For Kiddies around here, so it must be a nice boring pill that the school nurse can dish out. That's because we really don't want to fix the economy (increased revenue from the adult drink model). We just like complaining about it while the 1% does their thing.

Mods, I'm being vicious, so don't modslam me from the tone. This is only one example of how if we really wanted to fix the economy, we'd unleash a few more "grownup" products and services into the world. There are hundreds more examples.

Not so fast (3, Funny)

Chrisq (894406) | about 2 years ago | (#41188875)

I here apple has a patent on round edible things.

Promising New Drug May Cure Malaria (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41188877)

Nah, I promise new drugs all the time without curing malaria. Must be something else that does it.

Whack-a-mole (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41188879)

Millions upon millions of more deaths due to hunger then. :-(

Re:Whack-a-mole (5, Insightful)

CrankyFool (680025) | about 2 years ago | (#41188927)

The slashdot audience is sometimes incredibly cynical. "Oh, sure, cure Malaria, but I'll bet you all those people will just die of something else!"

Yes, true. If there's one thing we can probably all agree on is that in the long run, no one will be saved. Everyone will die. That's what happens to people.

The answer is either to give up and do nothing about it, or start doing something about it, knowing that even solving a part of the problem (Malaria) isn't solving the whole problem. Do you want to move the ball forward or sit back and snipe at those who do?

Personally -- speaking as someone who saw his father almost die of Malaria in the early 80's after returning from a trip to Kenya -- I can't see this as anything but a good thing.

Re:Whack-a-mole (4, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#41189057)

These are the same morons who try to hinder nearly all human progress, they fail to realize "Perfect is the enemy of good".

In their other forms they claim electric cars will never get better, wind power kills birds, solar power takes land and that fracking can never be done. They never consider that perfection will never be reached, but each step towards a better answer is a worthwhile step.

Re:Whack-a-mole (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41189401)

You missed the point: population growth is a big problem in Africa, they need proper education and condoms.

Working to raise the growth factor (by curing a disease) without working on decreasing it: we'll see more severe starvations... amongst other problems.

This won't help the people there.

Nigeria is at +3.5% population growth rate, they double every 20 years, by any way this won't happen... thus the whack-a-mole comment.

Re:Whack-a-mole (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#41190353)

" Everyone will die. "
every one who is dead, has died. That's all you can really say.

Tonic water? (1, Flamebait)

scubamage (727538) | about 2 years ago | (#41188899)

Seriously, can't we just ship a few pallets of tonic water over? It's an effective treatment, and as a bonus healthcare workers can take some beefeater and have a lovely after-work nightcap.

Re:Tonic water? (1)

boristdog (133725) | about 2 years ago | (#41188993)

This is why my nightly G&T is so important. I'm helping prevent malaria. It shows I'm a good person.

Re:Tonic water? (1)

scubamage (727538) | about 2 years ago | (#41189109)

It is the reason they taste like Christmas!

Re:Tonic water? (1)

scubamage (727538) | about 2 years ago | (#41189097)

Wow, I got modded down for mentioning tonic water? Apparently one of the mods has never heard of quanine [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Tonic water? (3, Funny)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#41189253)

No, you got modded down for suggesting such a terrible Gin.

Re:Tonic water? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#41189105)

So you want to ship them terrible tasting water and Gin only fit for cleaning?

What do you have against africans?

They can wash down this pill with some club soda and Hendrick's.

Great! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41188913)

Now all those newly saved millions have left to do is to try to avoid dying of famine, AIDS, tribal wars, collateral damage in targeted attacks, etc, etc, etc.

What does it cost? (2)

tverbeek (457094) | about 2 years ago | (#41188921)

There's one other "teensy weensy little hurdle": the cost. Or more precisely: the price. If this is something that WHO or other health agencies can purchase and dispense for a few cents per dose, it could revolutionize life in sub-Saharan Africa. If it's patent-protected and expensive... not so much.

Re:What does it cost? (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41188995)

Good grief, all I see here is 'pass out condoms', 'now they can live to have aids','what will they eat?','corporate greed will enslave the masses'.

You stupid socialists really do hate life don't you? Why do you even bother to get up in the morning? Why don't you just go out and jump off of a building?

Re:What does it cost? (1)

Brucelet (1857158) | about 2 years ago | (#41189055)

If it's not patent-protected, will anyone take the financial risk to produce it in large quantities?

Re:What does it cost? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#41189147)

Traditionally if it is not pantent protected and it is this kind of need there is no financial risk at all. The WHO or some other body goes to the pharma company and negotiates a price that covers manufacture and some guaranteed profit. Much like how you get your water and sewage assuming you live in a town or city.

Re:What does it cost? (1)

tverbeek (457094) | about 2 years ago | (#41189333)

"Hello, pharmaceutical manufacturing firm. I'm from the United Nations, and I would like to purchase a billion little pills from you over the next 10 years, at say, twice the cost of manufacturing them. Interested?"

That's not a risk; it's a windfall.

The one value that patents have in the pharmaceutical industry is to encourage private companies to invest the substantial money required to develop new drugs. Few drugs are really very expensive to manufacture; the high price on some drugs is justified (when/if it actually is justified) to pay off that investment. In this case we have a drug that has already been developed, and while human trials are no trivial matter in terms of cost, they aren't going to require the kind of huge investment that would make the drug too expensive to widely deploy.

So, millions will die without the drug (0)

hsmith (818216) | about 2 years ago | (#41188953)

But, they are worried some people may have adverse reactions to the drug and must undergo further testing.

So, millions will die between now and the drug "going through trials" - am I missing something - if the drug has potential to save millions of lives, isn't the drug trial process a bit convoluted then?

I get the point of testing the drug, but just the absurdity of "we have to go through trials, because someone may die"

Re:So, millions will die without the drug (4, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#41188975)

What if it kills 90% of the people who take it?

Human trials find that drugs either work as expected, not at expected or there are serious complications from the drug that might even be worse than what it cures.

Re:So, millions will die without the drug (2)

plover (150551) | about 2 years ago | (#41189931)

I remember reading about clinical trials for some lifesaving drug a while ago. As they were going through the trials, they realized that the drug group was experiencing a very high survival rate, something like 90%+ cured, while the control group continued to experience mortality at the expected rates. They suspended the trials early, and provided the control group with the actual drug, citing humanitarian reasons.

It's possible that they could do the same for this drug. More likely, really, as South Africa probably doesn't have the same requirements as the US FDA for approving new drugs.

Kill the profit motive (2)

smooth wombat (796938) | about 2 years ago | (#41189001)

As certain folks on here will tell you, this is just a money grab by evil pharmaceutical companies. These poor souls in Africa will be forced to take these tablets simply so the evil companies can make a profit.

This could have been done a long time ago, and without companies making a profit, but it's been put off because of the conspiracy between government and evil corporations to keep the man down by making him pay for medications which can wipe out a disease/affliction/whatever.

As this is purely a profit-driven exercise, it must be shouted down and demonstrations made to prevent this tablet from being used.

Oh, and since this involves use of evolutionary doctrine, we need to get the Christian community in an uproar because this goes against the Almighty's will. If he didn't want malaria to exist, he wouldn't have created it to torment humans. Trying to find a way to prevent/cure malaria is an assault on religion and must be stopped.

Did I cover everything?

Re:Kill the profit motive (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 2 years ago | (#41189177)

You missed the chance to suggest that the pharmas would crush the cure in order to sell continuing treatments.

What about the cost to produce the drug? (1)

Eloking (877834) | about 2 years ago | (#41189077)

This look great and all but...how much will it cost?

We can already cure Malaria but the best antibiotic cost a fortune and is the reason Africa still have the disease.

Of course, curing every form of Malaria with a single dose is good, but to be viable for Africa and other poor country, the real question is...how much does it cost?

Oh good (-1)

slashmydots (2189826) | about 2 years ago | (#41189151)

Oh good, that's what Africa needs is a significantly higher population with a higher growth rate. Just being realistic here, people. I think they might want to focus on providing food and shelter and income as well before more people attempt to live in a climate that doesn't support human life.

Re:Oh good (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#41189205)

The continent that birthed all human life cannot support any?

Low population growth rates are a function of being comfortable. If infant mortality is high humans will have far more offspring.

Just being realistic here, slashmydots, you might want to think before typing.

Re:Oh good (3, Insightful)

u38cg (607297) | about 2 years ago | (#41189209)

Let's just leave them to die of unpleasant diseases. Oh good. What a super human being you are. Did it ever occur to you that there are links between these things? Like, you know, that healthier people are richer and thus have less children? Not that that's really the point. Also, that climate is where your ancestors evolved, so your first world superiority is perhaps a little misplaced. Just being realistic here.

Cheaply bought cynicism (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41189183)

Listen to all these comfortable, white, Western cynics. Any point you may have, any criticism you might bring to bear, should be measured against the litmus of millions dead, or millions more suffering irrevocable harm to their childhood development (disease plays a statistically larger role in this than any other, at least in sub-saharan Africa).

Yes: starvation remains a problem. Yes: tribal warfare and corrupt political systems remain a problem. Yes: someone will make money off all this.

If these are the criteria by which you spoiled children support or oppose change in Africa, replete with all the indignant and self-righteous offense that only such children can summon, then you are in fact supporting some asinine Zeno's paradox in which Africa is stuck in misery and never able to leap out it in the 'one fell swoop' you seem to require. Change come at a pace, and it comes at a price.

I doubt any of you are affecting the former, or even paying the latter. You should be ashamed of your willingness to reduce the suffering of strangers to a non-issue.

Too early to rejoice (5, Informative)

Wdi (142463) | about 2 years ago | (#41189187)

Note that there has been *zero* human testing yet, not even phase 1 tests on healthy human subjects. From among the compounds that make it to that stage, maybe one in 50 or 100 (!) really makes it to market.

Aminopyridines (the class this new compound is from) have known pharmaceutical uses - and some compounds of this class have severe side effects, such as causing epileptic seizures that are difficult to reproduce in animals. .And its pretty reactive amino group is a general red flag.

But of course I wish the researchers luck with their tests.

Sickle Cell (0)

clam666 (1178429) | about 2 years ago | (#41189251)

Don't we already have sickle cell to help with this? Why are we wasting money when we can just send people with the genetic immunity to malaria to malaria infested countries?

It boggles the mind.

Nah, I must be wrong. For if I'm right.. (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 2 years ago | (#41189313)

Submitted for your serious consideration: For years I've been harping on this. How many lives will be lost delaying this drug 1 year, much less 3-5?

How many would be lost introducing a bad drug prematurely?

Of course, the former millions a year don't show up in front of the cameras as well as a politician with the latter and some (admittedly) horriffic sob stories.

There are gigatons of snake oil fraud to root out. Still, nobody runs the relative numbers of fraud deaths vs. deaths due to delays proving things work to government agencies.

Re:Nah, I must be wrong. For if I'm right.. (3, Insightful)

u38cg (607297) | about 2 years ago | (#41189643)

The drug testing regime we have was built incrementally to deal with flaws that existed in the previous setup. Remember Thalidomide?

Re:Nah, I must be wrong. For if I'm right.. (2)

Hatta (162192) | about 2 years ago | (#41189997)

How many lives will be lost due to distrust of western medical science if they push forward prematurely and find serious side effects?

I just hope (1)

Vinegar Joe (998110) | about 2 years ago | (#41189429)

It works a lot better than Lariam/Mefloquine.

http://www.cbsnews.com/2100-500164_162-538144.html [cbsnews.com]

Re:I just hope (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41190317)

I can attest to problems with Lariam.
On holiday in Thailand, after having taking Lariam for about a week, during the night I had an attack of paranoia and ran out of the hotel on the street and tried to steal a motorcycle to just flee away. I was convinced "they" were after me and I had to get out of there pronto.

I was lucky the locals seemed to recognize what was going on and they shooed me away without getting angry at me. (hindsight, fragmented memories)

I sort of drifted through the town after that, and eventually sat down somewhere for an hour (I think) not knowing where I was or what was going on, just knowing something was very wrong and I had to pull myself together.

In the end I used my cellphone to call one of my friends who was also at the hotel, and he tried to talk me down.
He asked me where I was, and only then did I realize I was about 50 meters away from the hotel entrance, facing it.
Weirdest thing that ever happened to me.

I've never had any paranoid delusions or hallucinations, before or after.
Never touching Lariam again.

Before the DDT Derp Brigade shows up (1)

L. J. Beauregard (111334) | about 2 years ago | (#41189631)

like they did in TFA: No, No, DDT isn't banned [pops.int] when used to combat malaria.

Animal experiments do not predict human outcomes.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41189773)

"The good news is that all the previous animal testing showed this new miracle pill was safe, effective, and had no adverse side-effects."

The bad news is that all the "previous animal testing" in the world is completely and utterly worthless. 92% of drugs which pass animal experiments FAIL in human experiments. (AKA 'clinical trials').

I'm surprised the article uses the phrase "human testing", because it's actually the truth, for once.

Which animals did they have success with? Which animals died or had bad side effects under this drug? What sort of idiot would believe that a given drug would have the SAME effect on ALL animal species?

They test drug X on mice, and it has no effect. They test it on rats, and it kills them. They test it on rabbits, and it cures whatever feeble attempt at replicating a human disease they've produced in the rabbits. Thus - it 'cures the disease', and they can then test it on humans! But what about the mice and rat results? They are ignored, because virtually ALL drugs will have terrible side effects on SOME species of animals - and in case you hadn't noticed, rats, mice and rabbits are NOTHING like humans.

But the whole ridiculous charade continues because MOST people are literally too stupid to even understand what I've written above, and will go along with whatever the T.V. tells them is 'safe to believe' - because they are incapable of EXPLAINING why they hold whatever opinion it is that they claim to 'hold'.

Vivisection is medical fraud, plain and simple.

I want a pill that makes my blood poisonous... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41190043)

...to mosquitoes. A few insect generations would solve that and other mosquito-borne illnesses.

Al Gore will not be happy (2)

Quila (201335) | about 2 years ago | (#41190237)

He wants population control, and here we are working to eliminate a major natural population control mechanism.

Millions of dead kids = good for the environment.

I hope this doesn't sound offensive but... (1)

Cute Fuzzy Bunny (2234232) | about 2 years ago | (#41190271)

...I hope they also figured out how to increase the food supply by 25%, if we're going to cut the mortality rate.

Re:I hope this doesn't sound offensive but... (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about 2 years ago | (#41190411)

When people have a greater expectation that their children will grow up, they have fewer children, especially if their religion doesn't forbid birth control.

Drug the water! (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about 2 years ago | (#41190383)

Can we give it to the mosquitos?
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