Photo Credit: Jim Gathany

New Study Shows How Malaria Parasite Enters the Body

Malaria is one of many diseases that don’t have a vaccine yet, although it takes several lives each year. Now, a new study by American journalists has indicated a possible area through which the malaria parasite enters the body.


This illustration shows how the protein receptor CD68 acts as a gateway for a malaria parasite (sporozoite) to enter the liver through a Kupffer cell, as revealed by Cha et al. Photo Credit: Cha et al

Malaria is originated from a parasite called “Plasmodium falciparum” that is transferred to human bodies through mosquito bites. The report stated that lately attempts to check transfer of this parasite into the body and escalate the attention to treatment have decreased the number of malaria-associated mortalities. However, the parasite still continues to instigate nearly 200 million new infections and half million mortalities across the globe, annually.

The very first place in human body where the parasite resorts to after entering the body is the liver. It is in the liver that a few organisms mature into tens of thousands before they are discharged into the bloodstream. Passageway via the liver is important for the parasite as it launches a productive infection and originates the disease. Although, mosquito’s entry path has been discovered to be the specialized liver cells known as “Kupffer cells” the exact mechanism involved behind the parasite going across these cells is unclear.

A research team at John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health discovered that a Kupffer cell protein namely CD68 is required for parasite passageway and effectual liver infection, like mice missing CD68 had 70 percent lesser parasites in their livers than that of the intact animals.

The report stated that if this decrease is adequate to significantly check blood infections, thereby the disease, CD68 may denote the possibility of a new drug target to fight against malaria.

All the research team needs to see now is if these results sustain in human beings as well.

The study has been published in “The Journal of Experimental Medicine”.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), in 2013 approximately 584,000 individuals lost their lives to malaria, majorly African children.

The World Malaria Report 2014 released by WHO reported that in 2013, 437,000 African individuals approximately lost their lives prior to their fifth birthday because of malaria. The disease prompted 453,000 under-five deaths approximately across the globe. Between 2000 and 2013, a growth of malaria intrusions helped to decrease the prevalence of the disease by 30 percent across the globe and by 34 percent in Africa.

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