quinta-feira, 6 de agosto de 2009

The source of malaria

Human malaria started in chimpanzees

AGUE, tertian fever, quartan fever, paludism. Malaria has been known about since ancient times and has gone under many names. Today, it kills over a million people a year, most of them young children. Where it originally came from, though, has been a matter of scientific debate for half a century.

In 1958 Frank Livingstone, a noted anthropologist, suggested that Plasmodium falciparum (which is by far the deadliest of the several parasites that cause human malaria) had jumped into Homo sapiens from chimpanzees.

A paper just published in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences shows that Livingstone got it right.

Understanding how parasites leap species barriers is crucial to understanding how new infectious diseases start in humans (...) it may provide a basis for development of new vaccines that are naturally attenuated. And a malaria vaccine would be a good thing indeed.

Notícia completa aqui.

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