The findings of a new study led by researchers at NYU Langone Medical center and published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation has revealed that adding a popular high blood pressure drug to standard malaria treatment more than tripled the survival rate of infected mice. Malaria is a mosquito-borne infection where a bite passes a parasite into the bloodstream. Eliminated from the United States in the 1950s, the disease still kills hundreds of thousands each year, mostly children in Sub-Saharan Africa. The study Authors has said that the study results address cerebral malaria, where the parasite causes swelling and bleeding in the brain. Around one percent of the 216 million people infected globally each year develop cerebral malaria. Of those, 15 to 20 percent die, likely representing the majority of the 438,000 deaths attributed to malaria last year and about one in five patients with cerebral malaria die within 48 hours of being admitted to the hospital, the time it takes for the parasite-killing drug to take effect,” says senior study author Ana Rodriguez, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Microbiology at NYU Langone. “If we could add a drug that stopped hemorrhages during that window, it would buy time and save lives. The new study found that the bursting of infected blood cells, by showering their contents on the vessel walls they are stuck to, sends signals that interfere with the ability of wall-lining cells to cling to each other. Each cell in the walls holds on less tightly to its neighbors, opening gaps through which first blood serum and later whole blood can escape into brain tissue.

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