Gene shows the way

Published: Thursday 31 August 1995

SCIENTISTS have now found a way to render "killer" malaria viruses impotent. Researchers based in the Institute of Molecular Medicine at Oxford University and other research bodies in the us have identified a family of genes which are thought to be responsible for people dying from the disease.

There are 4 types of malaria viruses, but only I is fatal. This lethal malarial parasite manipulates blood cells - both making them sticky and stopping anti-bodies from destroying them. As a result tfie infected blood cells stick to the insides of the small blood vessels of organs in the body, particularly the brain. trhe patient goes into coma, and eventu ally dies.

The researchers took patqsites from infected patients and grew them in laboratories. By extracting DNA from the parasites, they were able to identify the genes. Armed with this new information, the scieitists hope that it will now be their turn to manipulate the parasite and come up with some new methods of treatment.

Subscribe to Daily Newsletter :

Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.