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Latest malaria drug marks pioneer's day.

Byline: Laura Davis

ONE man's discovery brought Liverpool's School of Tropical Medicine to the forefront of research into malaria.

Now, exactly 100 years after Sir Ronald Ross received the Nobel Prize for his work, the college has developed a new drug to tackle the potentially fatal disease.

In some countries, the parasite which carries malaria from the mosquito into the human bloodstream has become immune to current treatments.

A team from the School of Tropical Medicine has redeveloped these drugs to find one that can be used on drug resistant malaria.

Janet Hemingway, school director, said: ``The longer a drug is used the less effective it becomes and the current treatments have been used for a decade now so they have become almost useless in some parts of the world.

``The new treatment has passed the third phase of clinical trials and will be used in these countries and for travellers to them.''

Without Sir Ronald's pioneering work the latest breakthrough by the school couldn't have been carried out.

Ms Hemingway said: ``Without this we would not have known about the malaria parasite. Many people believed that the disease came from the air and all treatments used to be centred around improving air quality.''

When he was presented with the Nobel Prize on December 10 1902, Sir Ronald was the first Briton to receive the accolade.

Born in 1857, in Almora, India, as the eldest of 10 children, he was persuaded to study medicine by his father.

His first position was as a ship's doctor and from there he joined the Indian Medical Service, working in Madras and Bangalore.

In 1899, he moved to Liverpool with his wife, Rosa Bessie, and their three children in order to take up the first lecturing post to be established within the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine.

Three years later, he won the Nobel Prize for Physiology and Medicine for his work on malaria.

At Sir Ronald's presentation speech, the rector of the Swedish Royal Caroline Institute said he had made an outstanding contribution to the world of science, adding: ``You have founded the work of preventing malaria, this veritable scourge of many countries.''

In 1903, he became the school's professor of tropical medicine and in 1912 was knighted for his scientific achievements.

Malaria is passed to humans by a tiny parasite which grows inside mosquitos. It is responsible for the deaths of more than one million children in Africa alone every year and can take just 48 hours to kill.


FIRST BRITON: Sir Ronald Ross, whose pioneering work won him the Nobel Prize for Medicine; and, left, a mosquito biting a hand; PRIZE: Janet Hemingway with Sir Ronald's Nobel medals
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Dec 10, 2002
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