Luminol, a compound used by Crime Investigation Agencies to trace the presence of blood on crime scenes may be used one day to kill malaria parasites, says a new study.
Luminol can be used even if blood has been removed or cleaned up years ago. This is because luminol is able to react with the iron in haemoglobin – an oxygen-carrying and iron-containing protein in red blood cells.
The compound called luminol glows blue when it encounters the haemoglobin in red blood cells. The researchers found that the compound can be used to trigger an amino acid present in haemoglobin to kill the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum in red blood cells.
“We think these agents could be combined to form an innovative treatment for malaria,” said Daniel Goldberg, professor of medicine and molecular microbiology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, US.
Researchers are expecting the better advantage of luminol therapy as compared to current malaria treatments. This new treatment involves the use of protein made by red blood cells, which parasite can’t mutate. The previous treatment failed just because of parasite mutation.
“All of these agents, the amino acid, the luminol and artemisinin have been cleared for use in humans individually, so we are optimistic that they won’t present any safety problems together,” said researchers.
“This could be a promising new treatment for a devastating disease,” he concluded.