Monday, June 04, 2007

barbaro vs. malaria drugs

i listen to lots of radio. which is kind of funny given my penchant for digital media. i flip between the local npr news station (FM) and the local sports talk station (AM) for many of my work at home days. something to keep me company (which i don't really find online) as i stare at my crystal display for hours on end.

i find that this helps balance me out somewhat, ensuring i remember that there are many viewpoints and hopefully keeping my bubble world a bit bigger.

anyway, this morning on npr i heard a story on the counterfeiting of anti-malarial drugs. which was awful. i had malaria twice while traveling in west africa, and my experience with artemisinin based drugs was much much better than my experience with other drugs. faster recovery, fewer side-effects, etc. anyway, fake drugs are being produced in china and sold all over asia that could be causing drug resistance! meaning that this will have real negative health effects (read: deaths) all over the developing world should the parasites that cause malaria develop a resistance to the artemisinin drugs, as they have with many of the other cheap and "natural" drugs often deployed in the fight against malaria.

then later today i heard a radio advertisement for some hbo or something sports documentary on the life of barbaro. and i thought - do people really give a shit about some horse? i mean really - a horse breaks his leg in a race (which people are spending mad money on), and then he has to be killed. so what! SO WHAT! come on. this is what people are being distracted by? THIS THIS is what is being played on the tube so that the men behind the curtain can keep doing their bullshit! call me heartless for not caring about the life of some horse, but then let me call you heartless for spending your time and energy on this horse, instead of on the many many real problems that face our ecosystem, our world, our species every moment of every day. call me speciest, or species-centric, or whatever.

whew. ok. i feel better.


Nina said...

I just saw a talk by the one (one! only one!) malaria researcher at all of Harvard last week. She said it took 60 years for the Plasmodium parasite to develop resistance to chloroquine. 6 years for resistance to fansidar. and 6 months for the latest drug while it was still in clinical trials! She didn't say anything about artemisinin. Besides counterfeits, another problem is the fact that malaria is usually self-diagnosed so people just take the drugs more often than they might need, or there are health policies in place that have more people on drugs than should be. This is probably contributing to the high rate of resistance. Ultimate outcome: no matter what they take people are not protected from the parasites.

(I had no luck with artemisinin. Quinine all the way baby!)

soungalo said...

yeah, indeed. preach it schmeens! i'm actually not sure if the artemisinin or quinine did the trick since i got the mali-anti-malaria-tea as well as the artemisinin tabs all at the same time. and although i was diagnosed by a doctor looking at me at first (on a friday), i (as a biochemist) had to confirm the diagnosis with a lab test (on monday), and i did indeed have some fun parasites in my blood. yummy.

Nina said...

haha! once you are indoctrinated with science, you can never go back!

- N

soungalo said...

really? there is no cure for science? are you sure? cause bush&theneocons certainly seem to have gone back.