Magic Bullets to Conquer Malaria: From Quinine to Qinghaosu

Author: Irwin W. Sherman1,2
Affiliations: 1: Department of Biology, University of California, Riverside, California; 2: Department of Cell Biology, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, California
Content Type: Trade
Format: Electronic, Paperback
Publication Year: 2011

Category: Clinical Microbiology; History of Science

MyBook is a cheap paperback edition of the original book and will be sold at uniform, low price.

After more than four decades of working on the frontlines in the war against malaria, author Irwin W. Sherman is uniquely qualified to present this chronicle of the search for medicines to conquer malaria. The book not only reviews the history of antimalarial medicines, it also explains the hurdles that lie ahead in the discovery and development of effective treatments and control strategies. Moreover, it provides new perspectives on the creative process of drug discovery as well as the challenges of overcoming drug resistance.

provides a historical overview of the medicines that have been used to treat malaria. It recounts how these drugs were discovered, how they have been used, and why they have failed to eradicate this disease. In addition, readers will learn about the use of larvicides, bednets, and DDT as well as recombinant DNA and monoclonal antibodies to block malaria transmission from mosquitoes to humans.

Each year, there are some 350 million to 500 million cases of malaria, killing between one million and three million people, the majority of whom are children in sub-Saharan Africa. This book will help microbiologists, parasitologists, pharmacologists, medicinal chemists, biochemists, physicians, and drug researchers better understand what has been done and what still needs to be done in the battle against malaria. Even readers with a limited background in chemistry and biology will find that the book’s clear, conversational style enables them to make sense of 300 years of malarial drug research, from quinine to today’s drugs and beyond.

Paperback, 298 pages, illustrations, index.

There are no separately available contributors for this publication.

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Microbiology Today

03 March 2013

Written by the venerable research scientist and historian Irwin Sherman, this book provides a chronological perspective on the search for and use of medicines to treat malaria, a scourge of mankind since prehistory. Prevention is better than cure, but in the continuing absence of an effective vaccine chemotherapy remains the frontline defence against infection. In 12 well-crafted and information-packed chapters, Sherman describes significant milestones in the history of malaria treatment - from the discovery of the mosquito-borne protozoan parasite in the 19th century, through abandonment of successive drug regimens due to emerging resistance, to current strategies for control and management of the disease. Included is an enjoyable but incongruous chapter on transmission-blocking immunity which would be better placed in the author's sister volume from a couple of years ago, The Elusive Malaria Vaccine, also from ASM Press. Read as a continuous narrative, this is a compelling and accessible account of dashed hopes and good intentions which I would recommend to anyone interested in infectious diseases, medicinal chemistry, or simply a gripping melodrama set against a century of scientific endeavour.

Society for General Microbiology: Microbiology Today

Reviewer: Andrew Taylor-Robinson, University of Leeds

Review Date: 2010

Doody Enterprises

28 January 2013

At A Glance

Chronicles the search for and use of medicines to conquer malaria, one of the world's most devastating and debilitating infectious diseases: * Examines drug treatments past and present; how they came in to being and how they have been used or abused * Examines how the drugs act and how the parasite is able to fight back * Focuses on understanding the problem of drug resistance and how its effects can be thwarted


This book depicts the search for a cure for malaria, focusing on the historical events that led to antimalarial drugs. It covers over 40 years of history in this scientific area.


The sole purpose is to record the story of the search for a cure for malaria. The author suggests that this examination of past treatments and new information will lead to new therapies that will lead to the eradication of malaria, with the ultimate goal of saving millions of lives.


The book is appropriate for all scientists and physicians interested in malaria and anti-infective agents at all stages of their careers. The author has spent several decades investigating therapies for malaria and brings a unique historical perspective to the hunt for antimalarial treatment.


The history of how malaria was discovered begins the book. It was first thought to be due to "bad air," and it was several decades before the discovery of the mosquito as a vector. The book is packed with interesting accounts of the discovery of antimalarial drugs. This includes such well-known scientists such as Ronald Ross, Paul Ehrlich, and Dimitri Romonowsky along with many more. The stories of how they discovered the life cycle, treatment options, staining protocols, and antimalaria drugs appear throughout the book. The book discusses the effects of malarial infections on history, from the outcome of wars to changes in policies, and the discovery of resistance to the antimalarial therapy. It also shares the history of the Panama Canal and the work that led to the use of antimosquito treatment to prevent malaria. All of this work has saved lives, but the final cure still evades clinicians and scientists.


This book provides insight into the background of the prominent scientists in the last 100 years who have studied malaria and searched for therapies. It ends by encouraging more research into multiple methods to reduce malaria such as mosquito control, vaccine development, and new therapeutic agents that are affordable and easy to use.

Doody Enterprises

Reviewer: Rebecca Horvat, PhD, D(ABMM) (University of Kansas Medical Center)

Review Date: Unknown

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