parasite

05/09/2014 - 09:20

Helicosporidium is a lethal parasite of insects including caterpillars, beetles and blackflies. The evolutionary origins of this parasite have remained shrouded in mystery but recent studies strongly suggested similarity to a green alga called Prototheca. Evolution of parasites from algae is not unheard of. One of the most famous examples is the transition of the malaria parasite Plasmodium from red algae, with loss of genes encoding biological functions that are no longer needed in the organism’s new life as a parasite.

05/05/2014 - 11:00

Researchers have found a way to protect threatened Darwin's finches on the Galápagos Islands from deadly parasitic nest flies in a manner that's as simple as it is ingenious: by offering the birds insecticide-treated cotton for incorporation into their nests. The study, reported in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on May 5, shows that the birds will readily weave the protective fibers in. What's more, the researchers find that just one gram of treated cotton is enough to keep a nest essentially parasite-free.

 

12/23/2013 - 12:27

In a study published in Nature Chemistry, they show that blocking the activity of an enzyme called NMT in the most common malaria parasite prevents mice from showing symptoms and extends their lifespan. The team are working to design molecules that target NMT more potently, and hope to start clinical trials of potential treatments within four years.

 

11/27/2013 - 14:45

Using advanced methodologies that pit drug compounds against specific types of malaria parasite cells, an international team of scientists, including researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and the Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation, have identified a potential new weapon and approach for attacking the parasites that cause malaria.

 

10/21/2013 - 09:25

In Europe, bats are normally discussed in the context of endangered species threatened by loss of their habitats. However, in recent years, bats have caught the eye of infection biologists. The animals are namely hosts to a surprising number of pathogens, many of which could be dangerous to humans. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology, the Museum für Naturkunde in Berlin and the American Museum of Natural History have been able to identify in West African bats four genera of parasites that are closely related to the malaria pathogen. One of them is the genus Plasmodium, which also includes the species that cause malaria in humans. The Plasmodium species in bats are very similar to that found in rodents and could advance the study of malaria pathogens’ defence strategies against immune system responses.

 

10/02/2013 - 17:43

Scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have received nearly $2 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to develop a new diagnostic test for “river blindness,” a neglected tropical disease.