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AI 'scientist' finds that toothpaste ingredient may help fight drug-resistant malaria

January 18, 2018 / worldpharmanews.com
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An ingredient commonly found in toothpaste could be employed as an anti-malarial drug against strains of the malaria parasite that have grown resistant to one of the currently used drugs. This discovery, led by researchers at the University of Cambridge, was aided by Eve, an artificially-intelligent 'robot scientist’. When a mosquito infected with malaria parasites bites someone, it transfers the parasites into their bloodstream via its saliva. These parasites work their way into the liver, where they mature and reproduce. After a few days, the parasites leave the liver and hijack red blood cells, where they continue to multiply, spreading around the body and causing symptoms, including potentially life-threatening complications. Malaria kills over half a million people each year, predominantly in Africa and south-east Asia. While a number of medicines are used to treat the disease, malaria parasites are growing increasingly resistant to these drugs, raising the specter of un...