Competição entre parasitas faz malária ser mais mortal

Mariana Noffs

The malaria mosquito vector is caught at the time they suck the blood of a person
CDC / James Gathany

Research at the University of Edinburgh found that malaria is a particularly deadly disease just because hosts parasites fighting other infections for survival. According to news from BBC , when the parasites enter the bloodstream, change the plan of attack if they can find other varieties of infection competition. However, this means that they are left with fewer resources to transmit malaria. The disease, which is transmitted by mosquitoes, kills nearly one million people worldwide every year. Scientists have discovered that malaria parasites focus on producing cells that replicate quickly to cause infection, rather than cells capable of be captured by a mosquito while feeding and then spreading the disease. As malaria infection consists of multiple varieties of the parasite, this attack strategy is the best way to win the competition, say scientists. However, this means that the parasites pay a high price, since so have fewer resources left to spread the disease. "Results explain an ancient parasites on the behavior of the puzzle," says Laura Pollitt, who attended the study. "We found that when parasites compete with each other, they react with a sophisticated strategy to ensure its long term survival. They choose to fight in the bloodstream rather than risk everything on the chance of infecting mosquitoes in the short term," adds Pollitt.

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Published on 14/02/2011