Malaria killed 617,000 people in 2012, according to the World Health Organization. The mosquito-transmitted disease affects more than 207 million every year having a fast impact on the stability and productivity of affected societies.
Research into the disease has reduced fatalites by almost half since 2000, but the variety of parasites that cause the disease make the treating of it more difficult, and the rise of drug-resistant malarial strains are on the rise.
Work being done at the Texas Biomedical Research Institute into the disease is having interesting results. By sequencing the blood of infected people they are able to better categorize and treat the disease. Borrowing from cancer research the single cell genomic approach requires they get at the tiny amount of DNA these parasites have.
The results have already shown promising leads better informed future investigations and treatments. Different malaria-causing parasites react differently to treatments and can lead to better designed drugs. Ian Cheeseman led the project and published the results on May 8th in the journal Genome Research
- Ian Cheeseman, Ph.D., scientist at Texas Biomedical Research Institute