Almost half a million people died of malaria last year, many in Africa. Worryingly, the parasites from the Plasmodium genus that cause malaria, have developed resistance to most current medicines. A 19th century dyestuff, methylene blue, could provide an answer.
First synthesized by BASF over 100 years ago, recent studies have shown it to be a safe and effective treatment against one malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum.
In 2016, the German universities of Heidelberg and Munich and Jimma University in Ethiopia started a clinical study to test a methylene blue-based combination therapy to treat patients with another malaria parasite, Plasmodium vivax.
This study was developed together with BASF scientists and will be supported by BASF.