Homemade Soup may Fight Malaria —Study

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Published November 19, 2019. 

Some soups may be good for more than just the soul.

A new study suggests that certain homemade broths — made from chicken , beef or even just vegetables — might have properties that can help fight malaria .

Researcher Jake Baum of Imperial College London asked children from diverse cultural backgrounds at state -funded Eden Primary School to bring in homemade clear soup broth from recipes that had been passed down across generations to treat fever .

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The samples were filtered and incubated with cultures of Plasmodium falciparum, a parasite that accounts for an estimated 99 . 7 per cent of malaria cases in Africa , according to the World Health Organization .

Of 56 soup samples tested , five were more than 50 per cent effective in curbing growth of the parasite , two with similar success as one drug currently used to treat malaria, Baum and his team reported Tuesday in the Archives of Disease in Childhood .

Four other soups were more than 50 per cent effective at blocking parasites from maturing to be able to infect mosquitoes , which transmit the disease .

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“When we started getting soups that worked — in the lab under very restricted conditions , I should add — we were really happy and excited ,” Baum told AFP in an email.

But he noted that it was unclear which ingredients had the antimalarial properties .

“If we were serious about going back and finding the magic ingredient , like good scientists , we ’ d have to do it in a very standardised way ,” he said .

– ‘ Golden recipes ’ –

The soups came from families from diverse ethnic backgrounds , including Europe , North Africa and the Middle East , and had a variety of base ingredients , including chicken , beef , beetroot and cabbage .

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Much to the pleasure of the vegetarians involved in the study , Baum noted , the veggie -only soups showed similar results to the meat -based ones.

Baum said he had wanted to teach children the process through which scientific research can turn an herbal remedy into a synthetically produced medicine.

He pointed to the success of Professor Dr Tu Youyou of China , who in the 1970 s was instrumental in isolating and extracting an antimalarial substance from quinhao , an herb used in Eastern medicine to treat fever for some two thousand years .

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This research led to the synthetic production of artemisinin — a drug now widely used to treat malaria — and won Tu the Nobel Prize in 2015.

Emerging resistance to drugs treating the disease — which kills some 400 ,000 people a year — means scientists have to “look beyond the chemistry shelf for new drugs”, Baum noted in a press release .

“The lesson from me was more that there may well be golden recipes out there in the world for disease that remain untapped . ”

( AFP )

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