The Sweet William Foundation looked outside the box to find a cure for malaria.
Scientists have been trying to eradicate malaria for decades, but none of them have been truly successful yet. Why is that?
It’s mainly because they’ve focused their efforts on two strategies: eliminating the mosquito population or killing the parasite that causes malaria through genetic manipulation or direct targeting.
With an estimated 100 quadrillion mosquitos living on the planet, eliminating all of them is probably impossible. And even if it were possible, their disappearance might have a catastrophic effect on other species while also damaging the ecosystem.
Though some vaccines have been developed that target the malaria parasite, they have only been partially effective. And the parasites inevitably develop immunity to the vaccine.
So the Sweet William Foundation took a different approach. We studied low-malaria-case populations in the malaria belt to see what factors might be causing the low rates.
What we found was that, though the parasites were perfectly healthy inside the mosquito, they were somehow being starved once they entered the human host.
The compounds we are testing change the blood of inoculated humans in such a way that their hemoglobin, which the parasite feeds on, is masked, blinding the parasites to their food source. Thus, they die inside their human hosts without infecting them and without making the return trip to a mosquito host—which means that they never reproduce.
Finding an effective compound along this line will herald a huge epidemiological breakthrough because no organism, no matter how tough, can develop an immunity to starvation.
Our hope is that we can inoculate people directly, and also apply the compound to mosquito netting and homes in high-risk areas so that the mosquitos absorb it as well, stopping the parasite even earlier. In this wise, we believe that we can quickly and effectively eradicate malaria from the planet.
Join our exciting mission by starting a Smile of Hope campaign or by donating directly to the Sweet William Foundation here.