Almost 3.3 billion people, half of the world's population, risk being infected with malaria. Despite having effective means against malaria, the WHO reports 250 million cases of malaria each year and more than 700,000 related deaths. Researchers at the University of Copenhagen have now discovered that EPO, the doping drug known from professional cycling, can significantly reduce cerebral malaria related deaths.
When more than 700,000 people die from malaria each year it is due to two grave complications, which the malaria parasites manage to cause before they are eliminated by malaria drugs: Cerebral malaria and serious anemia. These two complications are the cause of almost every malaria-related death, with children between one and five years old being especially vulnerable. Cerebral malaria is responsible for half of all malaria related deaths.