Nathan Schmidt gives insight on Malaria treatment

Dr. Schmidt shows his Malaria presentation at Thompson-Boling Arena.
Dr. Schmidt shows his Malaria presentation at Thompson-Boling Arena.

 

Nathan Schmidt, assistant professor in the Department of Microbiology and his laboratory assistants are working to find a treatment for Malaria.

Malaria may not be problematic in the United States but people are still affected. The Center for Disease Control website states that malaria is prevalent in tropical and sub-tropical climates and has a higher fatality rate in third world countries. Malaria is transmitted by the Anopheles mosquito, who then spreads the parasite from host-to-host as it attacks red blood cells. Approximately 50 percent of the world lives in malaria-endemic regions in which 1 million people die from malaria annually.

“While anti-malarial drugs have been effective at treating infected individuals, drug-resistance is a common problem and they do not prevent re-infection. Alternatively, an efficacious vaccine for malaria has the potential to prevent infection and lead towards the eradication of this parasite. Given the need for a malaria vaccine,” Schmidt said.

The driving question Schmidt’s team searches for is “Why have we not been able to develop a vaccine against the parasite and why does it increase the chances of being infected with a different pathogen?”

“Honestly, I think we are years away from finding a vaccine, but it is very rewarding to see my team and I move further into discovering the most effective way to treat Malaria,” said Schmidt.

Schmidt’s presentation on “A ‘Sweet’ Approach to Treating Malaria” was the last discussion hosted by UT’s Science Forum for Fall 2013.

 

Edited by Nichole Stevens