Using Malaria To Treat Syphilis
- Time Period: 1920s to 1950s
You might laugh at this now, but at one point in our human history, someone had the bright idea to fight syphilis with malaria. It can seem crazy, but they did have a somewhat understandable concept in mind. They assumed that the fever that malaria was able to produce could fight syphilis. This was assumed during the 1920s, and we did have some fever treatments by then to help, but it was still a huge risk. While old medical treatments like this might seem insane, this kind of worked out. Many who were injected with malaria were able to eliminate the syphilis virus.
However, those same people who recovered from syphilis then had intense fevers and longstanding side effects from their exposure to malaria. The odd part is that their entire plan revolved around a fever, which could have been implemented with other much safer viruses. We now know syphilis is not exactly cured by fevers. Rather, the entire immune system must play a part in ridding your body of it. Today, we use antibiotics to treat it but this just helps with the symptoms, your immune system still has to remove the virus.