Malaria-Causing Parasites Have A Good Chat
Scientists from Melbourne have made a surprising discovery - malaria parasites actually talk to each other. This interaction between the parasites is expected to be linked to an increased chance of survival and better transmission into humans.
This study, published in the journal Cell, was led by a team of scientists including Professor Alan Cowman, Dr Neta Regev-Rudzki, Dr Danny Wilson and colleagues from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute's Infection and Immunity division, in collaboration with Professor Andrew Hill from the University of Melbourne's Bio21 Institute and Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.
During the course of the study, the researchers were shocked to discover that the parasites causing malaria worked together in unison to enhance the activation into mosquitoes, which are carriers of this disease.
"When Neta showed me the data, I was absolutely amazed, I couldn't believe it," Professor Cowman said. "We repeated the experiments many times in many different ways before I really started to believe that these parasites were signalling to each other and communicating. But we came to appreciate why the malaria parasite really needs this mechanism -- it needs to know how many other parasites are in the human to sense when is the right time to activate into sexual forms that give it the best chance of being transmitted back to the mosquito."
Malaria, which claims the lives of more than 700,000 people each year, is caused due to an infection with a parasite known as Plasmodium, which is transmitted through mosquito bites. Statistically speaking, more than half the world's population is at a risk of falling prey to malaria, which is why, a discovery like this could be more than helpful in strategizing treatments to eradicate this disease.
"We showed that the parasites inside infected red blood cells can send little packets of information from one parasite to another, particularly in response to stress," Dr Regev-Rudzki said.
With the findings of this study, the next step for the researchers would be to identify the molecule responsible for this interaction, blocking it, and thus help stop malaria in its tracks. Professor Cowman, along with other researchers claims that this study may help provide a base for the development of new anti-malarial drugs and vaccines.
Drug-Resistant Strains Of Malaria Identified: Epidemic On The Way?
Malaria is caused by a number of different types of tiny parasites from the Plasmodium family.
Pollution Kills 1.7 Million Kids Every Year
The WHO reports that pollution is the main cause of death of 1.7 million kids each year. The report stresses the damages of toxic environments, and recommends some measure to help reduce children's mortality rate.
New Malaria Vaccine Yields Longterm Results After It Passes Human Trial
Promising New Malaria Vaccine Works Longterm By Disabling Key Parasite Genes That Carries The Virus
Malaria Prevention: Study Proves Anemia Can Protect Children Against Malaria
A new study on anemic children in Africa reveals the link of anemia to malaria prevention. However, the protective property is lost when the person takes iron supplements.
New Malaria Vaccine, GAP3KO, Passes First Human Trial With Strong Results
GAP3KO, was created by genetically engineering the malaria parasite that is weakened after removing three genes that allow infection. The genetically attenuated parasites called or "GAPs" are incapable of multiplying in the human liver.
Martin Shkreli's Expensive Malaria, HIV Medication Has Been Recreated By Aussie Schoolboys
Last year, pharmaceutical executive, Martin Shkreli, faced international backlash when he bought the rights to an HIV drug and increased the price by 5,000%. Now, school boys from Australia were able to recreate the key ingredient of the drug at a very cheap price.
MORE IN ITECHPOST
At-Risk Mental Health for Students: Developing Resilience Among Students amid the Coronavirus Pandemic
At-Risk Mental Health for Students to help students struggling with their mental health, especially now amid the pandemic. It focuses more on developing students' resilience.
Tech Leaders and Health Authorities Join Forces, Launch New Initiative to Help Fight Pandemic and Future Epidemics
Two contact tracing apps have been successfully launched recently in Canada and Ireland. The open-source code underlying these apps has been contributed to a newly launched initiative to help other countries and U.S. states in the fight against the pandemic.
Fairy Tail Game Releases a Season Pass, a Week After It Was Launched
The anime RPG Fairy Tail from Koei Tecmo has just released a season pass that will release additional characters and content into the game, just a week after it was launched.