Aug 12, 2011

Got Malaria? Step Into My Microwave...

Malaria is a stone cold bitch.  The World Health Organization estimates that over 3 billion people live in areas where they are in significant risk of contracting the parasites, which kills about a million people each year.  Moreover, humanity's efforts to combat the malaria have been problematic at best.  Malaria continues to evolve and outsmart drug treatments, and now the nasty little critters have even become multi-drug resistant.  Clearly a radical solution is needed.

How about a microwave?

Researchers in Panama and Pennsylvania State University believe they've developed a method by which focused, low level microwave radiation super-heats residual iron deposits leftover from when the parasites are feasting on human blood.  The process actually makes the parasites EXPLODE, leaving healthy tissue unaffected.  The researchers are hoping to build human-sized microwave emitters to get the job done, similar to those newfangled full body image scanners at airports.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has been at the forefront of the fight against malaria and they're sponsoring a second round of research into this new method as part of a grant that sounds not unlike NASA's NAIC program.  While developing a more effective cure is the first step, the next step involves convincing the people in the affected developing countries that we're not trying to kill them or sterilize their women.

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