DR Philip Schofield

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7. Parasites

Parasites have been the scourge of mankind since time immemorial, and despite the development of drugs to combat them they remain a major health problem with severe economic consequences. Parasites have killed more people than all of the wars in the history of mankind.

Malaria alone kills between 2 and 3 million people each year; every 30 seconds a child dies from malaria. There is a battery of drugs to treat and combat malaria but the malaria parasite is very clever. It develops resistance to the drugs, thereby precipitating an ever more frantic search to develop new and cheap drugs to circumvent this resistance. The recent elucidation of the complete genome of the malaria parasite may provide new targets for drug action in the future.