Malaria May Not Be The Problem For Pregnant Women That It Once Was

The Zika virus is not the only mosquito-borne disease that is a major threat to pregnant women. The malaria disease also has an especially negative effect on women who are pregnant while having the disease. Traditional medications to treat malaria fall a bit short when it comes to treating a pregnant woman’s unborn fetus. Luckily, after decades of research, experts think that they may have a treatment for malaria that could leave the unborn infant unharmed.

Some people are resistant to certain malaria drugs, and when a pregnant woman is resistant to malaria treatments. The malaria parasite causes anemia, which can remain even after treatment for some individuals has stopped. As a result of this anemia, infected pregnant women give birth to undersize babies, similar to Zika.

Fifty million women contract malaria each year. The most common and dangerous parasite in malaria is known as Plasmodium falciparum.  This parasite is carried by females as well as their unborn babies. This parasite thwarts the development of the fetus. This parasite consumes nearly all of the nourishment that is meant to be consumed by the developing fetus. As a result of this lack of nutrient-intake by developing fetuses, babies born to mothers infected with malaria are normally dangerously underweight. Once the parasite affects the placenta, women develop anemia as well.

In an effort to find a medical solution to the malady facing pregnant women with malaria, researchers are not focusing on antibiotics for treatment. Instead, a protein was found in the malaria virus. This protein allows for the synthesis of adhesive areas on healthy cells where the virus can attack and reproduce. This protein then attaches to a cell’s ribosome where it produces adhesion proteins regularly. These adhesive proteins must be stopped because it allows the virus to continue latching onto healthy cells in the placenta, and only in the placenta. Researchers are confident that soon a drug will be available on the market that can prevent birth defects by interrupting this cellular process.

Are you aware of any other insect-borne diseases that harm a pregnant woman’s developing fetus?

 

 

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