Some soup broths may help combat malaria: Study

LONDON: Some traditional vegetable and meat soup broths may help fight malaria by curbing the growth and transmission of the deadly parasite, a first-of-its-kind study claims.

Several of the soup broths, collected from traditional family recipes that originated around the world, showed activity against the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum, either by curbing its growth or preventing it from maturing, according to the researchers from Imperial College London in the UK.

The soup recipes had been passed down through the generations for the treatment of fever, they said.

According to the study, published in the journal Archives of Disease in Childhood, five of the broths were able to curb growth of the parasite in its disease-causing stage by more than 50 per cent.

In two of these, the inhibitory activity was comparable with that of a leading antimalarial drug, dihydroartemisinin, the researchers said.

Dihydroarteminisin contains artemisinin, which was isolated from a traditional Chinese herbal medicine.

The researchers hope that they may discover new antimalarial compounds in a similar way from the work looking at soup. The next step is to identify the active ingredients responsible.

“Malaria kills more than 400,000 people per year and infects more than 200 million, yet resistance to our frontline drugs continues to emerge,” said lead researcher Professor Jake Baum, from the Department of Life Sciences at Imperial. (AGENCIES)