Iron pills do not increase chance of malaria
Verhoef's conclusion is remarkable, as malaria is caused by a parasite that needs iron. Researchers thought that the low levels of iron in the blood of African children protected them against malaria. Verhoef put this idea to the test with a group of more than three hundred children suffering from anaemia. The children were given either iron, a placebo, malaria medicine, or iron and the medicine together for a period of three months. No increase in malaria was observed among the children who had been given iron. Verhoef's work is financed by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO), and this is his fourth publication on malaria in The Lancet.