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Herbs and empires: a brief history of malaria drugs

3 minutes

Our fight against malaria is strange, cyclical and shows few signs of slowing

By far the deadliest parasitic disease in human history, malaria has killed millions upon millions of people over the past several thousand years. Effective anti-malarial treatments have existed since the 17th century, but the disease still kills more than a million people a year, many of them children. Despite enormous efforts to neutralise and eradicate the disease, the malaria parasite has proved hugely resilient, capable of developing a resistance to everything humankind has ever thrown at it. Produced by NPR, Herbs and Empires traces the strange history of one of our most formidable foes.

Producer: Adam Cole, Ben de la Cruz

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Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge. Our mission is to create a sanctuary online for serious thinking.
But we can’t do it without you.

Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview.
But we can’t do it without you.

Essay/
Genetics
Haunted by history

War, famine and persecution inflict profound changes on bodies and brains. Could these changes persist over generations?

Pam Weintraub

Essay/
Medical Research
Viral rescue

When antibiotics fail, could phage therapy succeed? The germ’s-eye view of infection might open up revolutionary treatments

Emily Monosson