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Last Updated: Wednesday, 22 June, 2005, 07:43 GMT 08:43 UK
Students to aid malaria research
Image of a mosquito
The disease has developed resistance to existing drugs
School and college science students are being called on to help come up with a drug that could fight malaria.

The universities of Southampton and Reading have set up a website on the subject, primarily as a learning tool.

But their scientists say any A-level students that use the information to come up with a potential cure may have their drug compound tried out for real.

A spokesman for the scheme said: "This isn't just another teaching exercise this is a real life problem."

We believe that there is a very real chance that some of the compounds that they come up with will be made
Dr Jeremy Frey

Students who register with The Schools Malaria Project website will be able to research the different ways of combating malaria.

Project backers say the students will be guided through the various stages of the drug-design process and will be able to consult with university researchers.

Dr Jeremy Frey, of Southampton University's school of chemistry, said: "This type of exercise has never been made available to school students before.

"We believe that there is a very real chance that some of the compounds that they come up with will be made."

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