Historical Development of our understanding of the cause and prevention of Malaria.

Essay by ChewyWookUniversity, Bachelor's June 2004

download word file, 2 pages 5.0

Deadly fevers which could be linked to Malaria have been recorded since the beginning of history (between 6000 and 5500 B.C.) although it is believed that Malaria started having a major impact on the survival of humans since the start of agriculture about 10000 years ago.

Approximately 2500 years ago Hypocrites wrote of Malaria and divided the fever into different types: Quotidian (daily), Tertian (alternate days) and Quartan (every fourth day). Believed to have originated in the Mediterranean, Malaria seems to have been spread by European settlers and slaves within the last 500 years creating epidemics around the world. Jesuit missionaries in South America learned of the anti-malarial properties of the bark to the Cinchona tree and introduced it into Europe by the 1630's. In 1820 Quinine is identified as the active ingredient within the Cinchona tree. The Dutch grew these trees and became the world's supplier of Quinine. It was in 1882 that the mosquito transmission of Malaria hypothesis was put forward.

This was researched and in 1897 Dr. Ronald Ross reportedly discovered Malaria cysts in the stomach of the Anopheles mosquito that had fed on a malaria patient. Further research and testing was carried out and in 1898 Giovanni Batista Grassi proved that Malaria was transmitted to humans through the Anopheles mosquito.

World War I produced many advances in technology and during this time Germany developed an anti-malarial drug called Atabrine. This led to more anti-malarial compounds being produced in 1934 including Resochin and Sontochin. In 1943 the Americans acquired Sontochin when a Tunis was liberated from the German forces. They altered it's composition and renamed it Chloroquine which is widely used in treating Malaria patients around the world. Quinine is now completely synthesized and is also used in treating Malaria patients.

In an effort to completely...