Iron deficiency can lead to death. In countries where patients suffer and other diseases, is used for the treatment of nutritional supplements containing iron. 12 years ago, Dora Pereira, or "Iron Lady", work in a team of scientists who have had ideas for new additives. Now she conducts clinical trials in the Gambia.
When it comes to iron deficiency anemia, there is a paradox: in developing countries, some people susceptible to the disease, when taking supplements containing iron, the condition worsens.
Iron dissolves rapidly in the intestine and passes into the bloodstream. According to Dora Pereira, the situation changes if the patient suffers not only anemia but also a number of infections (including malaria, HIV, amoebic dysentery, etc.).
When the iron enters the patient's cells, it becomes available to the cells of any pathogen. The results can be much worse than the development of anemia, - she explains. - Therefore, the situation with iron deficiency anemia has not changed in 20 years, especially in children and women of reproductive age. In developing countries, patients taking oral iron supplements, in the absence of infection control there is the risk of spreading infections. Despite the efforts in the field of public health, a food deficit remains without proper treatment. "
Pereira and colleagues wondered if the right type of iron used to treat anemia. "If you look at the diet, we get iron from red meat, legumes, whole grains and green, where it is less" accessible "form than soluble iron supplements," - says Pereira.
Scientists have found the most suitable form of food additives - IHAT iron hydroxide. IHAT behaves as a form of iron that is found in the human diet, but does not dissolve in the intestine.
IHAT been tested in humans, and is currently conducting a study of 700 children in the Gambia. Pereira hopes that IHAT additive will be a decision that the World Health Organization called a "public health condition of epidemic proportions."
Iron deficiency and related anemia - a serious eating disorder that affects two billion people. Iron deficiency leads to the death of 0.8 million people annually. Therefore, in countries where one of five young children suffering from anemia of iron compound incorporated into the powdered mixture of vitamins and minerals.
If clinical trials are successful, the final product will be available and will be manufactured in large quantities. According to the financial projections, monthly supply of daily dose will cost 1-2 USD. In 2014 IHAT additive has won the award "Emerging Technologies" of the Royal Chemical Society of Great Britain.