Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Researchers investigate evolving malaria resistance

Funded by a $1.5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health, scientists at Binghamton University, State University of New York, hope to understand how the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum evolved resistance to the once-effective medication chloroquine.

“Malaria is responsible for 1-3 million deaths a year, most of whom are children under 5 in sub-Saharan Africa,” said J. Koji Lum, associate professor of anthropology and biological sciences, principal investigator for the grant. “This is equivalent to the death toll from the attacks of 9/11 every eight to 24 hours.”

Lum and Ralph Garruto, professor of biomedical anthropology and a co-investigator on the grant, together have about 11,000 archived human blood samples from malarious regions of the Pacific collected from the 1950s to the present. The samples will be analyzed and researchers will document the accumulation of genetic changes that resulted in chloroquine’s treatment failure in the Pacific.

Malaria is relatively easy to eliminate in places that have a good health-care infrastructure. In the developing world, particularly in the tropics, the disease is treated primarily through chemotherapy, Lum said.

The problem is that parasites develop resistance to the drugs over time. This study will help scientists understand how malaria parasites evolved resistance to chloroquine. They also hope to learn lessons that may be relevant to current treatments and their interactions with the disease. Ultimately, a better understanding of past episodes of drug resistance evolution will help doctors get the maximum possible impact from newer drugs.

Other studies have had to rely on theoretical modeling of resistant parasites to infer how they evolved. Lum and Garruto expect to be able to directly observe the accumulation of the nine mutations in the transporter gene that confer resistance to chloroquine. They’ll study parasites collected during the past 50 years and stored in the freezers of the NIH-BU Biomedical Anthropology archive.

“This funding will allow us to do a little bit of time traveling,” Lum said.

Lum considers malaria the most important infectious disease in human history. It continues to exact a devastating toll, in part because the resulting loss of education, work and young lives creates a cycle that makes it nearly impossible for nations to rise from poverty.

To eliminate malaria, countries must treat their entire populations, even asymptomatic adults. But there’s rarely enough money and medicine for developing nations to do that, Lum explained. Doctors focus their energies on the young, people who are clearly ill. Adults who have developed some level of immunity to malaria end up as reservoirs for parasites, continuing to spread the illness without ever feeling sick.

Gail Glover | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Inflammation Triggers Unsustainable Immune Response to Chronic Viral Infection
24.10.2016 | Universität Basel

nachricht Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia
21.10.2016 | Universitätsklinikum Magdeburg

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Oasis of life in the ice-covered central Arctic

24.10.2016 | Earth Sciences

‘Farming’ bacteria to boost growth in the oceans

24.10.2016 | Life Sciences

Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

24.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

More VideoLinks >>>