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The Plasmodium vivax genome provides new routes and challenges in the global fight against malaria
Date:10/8/2008

Institutions from around the world join forces in the Global Fight Against Malaria. While most research into controlling malaria has focused on the parasite Plasmodium falciparum, which is responsible for the most virulent form of the disease, there are other parasites of the same genus which, despite producing a milder form of malaria, are gaining notoriety. This is the case of Plasmodium vivax, to which is attributed almost 300 million cases of malaria each year, severe forms of the disease and resistance to some drugs. In its next issue, the journal Nature publishes a study, led by The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR), in which it presents, for the first time, the genetic code of P vivax and draws some conclusions about the biology of this parasite and how to combat it in the future.

Dr. Hernando del Portillo and Dr. Carmen Fernandez-Becerra, the only authors from a Spanish centre, have led the effort to understand and combat P vivax for many years - first from Brazil and now from the Barcelona Centre for Research on International Health (CRESIB), directed by Dr. Pedro Alonso, who is also the head of the International Health Service at Hospital Clnic of Barcelona and Chair of Public Health at the University of Barcelona. The researchers from this centre have contributed their experience in studying the virulence of the parasite in order to validate and analyse the data obtained in the sequencing carried out by the TIGR. They were pioneers in this field when they discovered the largest family of genes controlling the virulence of this parasite in a study also published in Nature in 2001. The principal author of the study is Dr. Jane M. Carlton, Associate Professor of the Department of Medical Parasitology of the New York University Medical Center, and formerly of TIGR. The main institution funding the study was the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (National Inst
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Contact: Marc de Semir
mdesemir@clinic.ub.es
34-932-275-700
IDIBAPS - Institut d'Investigacions Biomdiques August Pi i Sunyer
Source:Eurekalert

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