Creating Waves of Awareness
It is heartening that Karachi University has done a good work on some work on seaweed as a treatment of Cutaneous Leishmania.
The use of red algae marine Osmundea pinnatifide red algae against Leishmania major published the work of Dr Sabina Habib who won a gold medal on her presentation based on the study in Sri Lanka in 2006.
The researched focused on extracts of 17 species of seaweeds that grow extensively along the coast of Karachi, Pakistan during 2004-6 as having inhibitory properties to the parasite's ability to grow in vitro, in cultured petri dish. The following four red algae species had the most inhibitory experimental results.
Presently, chemotherapy drugs used to treat leishmaniasis have toxic side effects and the use of the red algae may have potential.
The cutaneous form of the disease is a painful skin ulcer disease caused by the parasite Leishmania major which is present in many parts of Pakistan and sporadic cases are seen throughout the country, according to her.
Cutaneous leishmaniasis causes a sore at the bite site, which heals in a few months to a year, leaving an unpleasant looking scar. This form can progress to any of the other three forms: Mucocutaneous leishmaniasis, Visceral leishmaniasis, and Post-kala-azar dermal leishmaniasis.