Malaria is a disease caused by a parasite contracted through the bite of the Anopheles mosquito. Scientists at the University of Geneva discovered a way to deactivate or disorient the sensors possessed by the malaria parasite.
They discover how to deactivate the malaria parasite.
They published such a study in the journal Science Advances, and it is a breakthrough in the fight against the disease. It affects 250 million people worldwide each year and causes 600,000 deaths.
They discovered that the parasite has sensors, which other parasites do not possess, that can be deactivated, i.e., disoriented. The sensors allow the pathogen to differentiate whether it is in a mosquito or in a human being.
During the life cycle of the parasite, of the genus plasmodium, a female Anopheles mosquito can inoculate it through a bite. It then goes on to settle in the liver, where it remains for about ten days. It is then transported to the blood of the affected person and invades the red blood cells. Once the parasite is in the red blood cells, another mosquito can carry it and infect more people.
Procedure to disorient the parasite.
According to University Microbiology Department professor Mathieu Brochet, the parasite’s sensor is made up of five proteins. If these proteins are eliminated, the pathogen loses track of where it is and is no longer in the blood, so another mosquito would not be able to inoculate it. Thus, the parasite finds no place to develop further.
By manipulating the sensors that the parasite possesses, it can become disoriented when it is in its expansion stage in the blood. It invades the red blood cells and every 48 hours discards the already infected ones, destroying them to nest in new ones.
While the parasite grows in the human liver, no symptoms are detected in patients. Likewise, when it is already in its expansion stage in the blood, the person suffers periods of very high fever. When the sensors are overridden, the pathogen is trapped in the red blood cells, unable to continue its infectious cycle.
Plasmodium sensors are not found in other microbes. They are like sensory organs that detect molecules that only mosquitoes and humans possess. The team of scientists has already identified the molecules that the parasite detects in mosquitoes to activate its sensors. However, they have yet to identify the molecules it uses to orient itself within the human body.
They will continue with successive studies, thus raising hopes for a cure for malaria.