While it may sound like something out of a science-fiction novel, researchers are investigating the use of low-power microwaves to destroy malaria parasites in the blood. Fast Company reports:
Researchers have now hit upon one treatment that no parasite has ever developed an immunity against, and may never be able to survive: microwaves.
Carmenza Spadafora, a researcher at one of Panama's top research institutes, and Jose Stoute of Pennsylvania State University, developed a technique that may lead to full-body microwave scanners to cure malaria. The approach destroys malaria parasites by emitting low-powered microwaves that heat iron-rich, toxic crystals--remnants of digested blood cells in the parasite--fatally releasing its contents, according to Nature. Since the parasite carries an extra iron atom, it selectively absorbs microwave energy which kills the parasite but leaves normal blood cells unharmed. If successful, a human-sized device (think the scanners at airports) may soon provide an instant cure for the disease