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Discovery of Novel Malaria Parasite Behaviour Offers New Target for Treatment

Researchers have demonstrated novel parasite behaviour which offers a potential new target for malaria diagnosis and intervention.

Malaria, a blood borne disease caused by single cell parasites, remains a major global public health issue with millions of cases, and nearly half a million deaths every year.

The new discovery in the parasite’s biology is revealed across a set of three studies led by the University of Glasgow’s Wellcome Centre for Molecular Parasitology. The studies are published in Nature Communications, Science Advances and MBio.

The researchers have discovered that malaria parasites can occupy sites outside the bloodstream, specifically in the bone marrow and spleen where red blood cells are formed. The studies show in animal models and human infection that this is the major niche for the development of malaria transmission stages and a significant reservoir for the parasite’s replicative stages.

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