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Consuming soups can save you from malaria. Pixabay

“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 study lead researcher Jake Baum, Professor at Imperial College London, in UK.

“We may have to look beyond the chemistry shelf for new drugs, and natural remedies shouldn’t be off our watch list,” Baum added.


For the study, published in the journal Archives of Disease in Childhood, researchers from Imperial College London with school children test their family soup broths for activity against the malaria parasite.

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.

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

Five of the broths were able to curb growth of the parasite in its disease-causing stage by more than 50 percent.

In two of these, the inhibitory activity was comparable with that of a leading anti-malarial drug, dihydroartemisinin.

Four other broths were more than 50 percent effective at blocking the ability of the parasites to mature to a form that infects mosquitoes, potentially blocking the process of transmission.


Prevent malaria with healthy soups. Pixabay

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

According to the researchers, the study was carried out by students at Eden Primary School in North London.

The pupils brought in samples of homemade clear soup broths from family recipes from across Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East.

Filtered extracts of the broths were then tested against two stages of the parasite: when it can infect mosquitoes, and when it can cause the disease in humans.

The recipes for each of the broths varied.

They were vegetarian, chicken, or beef based, with no particular ingredient common to those with the strongest anti-malarial activity.

The active ingredients in the broths studied are yet to be identified and tested, the study said.

To move forwards, the active ingredients would need to be isolated, before tests of toxicology and effectiveness, first in human cells and later preclinical trials.

Also Read- Here’s Why Too Much Ultra-Processed Food Can Deteriorate your Heart Health

The researchers behind the study hope that they may discover new anti-malarial compounds in a similar way from the work looking at soup.

“It’s really interesting to find potential routes for future drug development in something like your grandmother’s soup,” Baum added. (IANS)


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Milky Way galaxy as seen from Chitkul Valley

NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory has for the first time spotted signs of a planet transiting a star outside of the Milky Way galaxy, opening up a new avenue to search for exoplanets at greater distances than ever before.

The possible exoplanet -- or planets outside of our Solar System -- candidate is located in the spiral galaxy Messier 51 (M51), also called the Whirlpool Galaxy because of its distinctive profile, NASA said in a statement.

Astronomers have, so far, found all other known exoplanets and exoplanet candidates in the Milky Way galaxy, almost all of them less than about 3,000 light-years from Earth.

An exoplanet in M51 would be about 28 million light-years away, meaning it would be thousands of times farther away than those in the Milky Way, NASA said.

"We are trying to open up a whole new arena for finding other worlds by searching for planet candidates at X-ray wavelengths, a strategy that makes it possible to discover them in other galaxies," said Rosanne Di Stefano of the Center for Astrophysics at Harvard and Smithsonian (CfA) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, who led the study.

The findings are published in the journal Nature Astronomy.

The exoplanet candidate was spotted in a binary system called M51-ULS-1, located in M51. This binary system contains a black hole or neutron star orbiting a companion star with a mass about 20 times that of the Sun. The X-ray transit they found using Chandra data lasted about three hours, during which the X-ray emission decreased to zero.

Based on this and other information, the team estimates the exoplanet candidate in M51-ULS-1 would be roughly the size of Saturn and orbit the neutron star or black hole at about twice the distance of Saturn from the Sun.

The team looked for X-ray transits in three galaxies beyond the Milky Way galaxy, using both Chandra and the European Space Agency's XMM-Newton. Their search covered 55 systems in M51, 64 systems in Messier 101 (the "Pinwheel" galaxy), and 119 systems in Messier 104 (the "Sombrero" galaxy).

However, more data would be needed to verify the interpretation as an extragalactic exoplanet. One challenge is that the planet candidate's large orbit means it would not cross in front of its binary partner again for about 70 years, thwarting any attempts for a confirming observation for decades, NASA said.

Named in honor of the late Indian-American Nobel laureate, Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, the Chandra X-ray Observatory is the world's most powerful X-ray telescope. It has eight times greater resolution and is able to detect sources more than 20-times fainter than any previous X-ray telescope.

Known to the world as Chandra (which means "moon" or "luminous" in Sanskrit), Chandrasekhar was widely regarded as one of the foremost astrophysicists of the twentieth century. (IANS/JB)


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