Navigation Links
Scientists Discover Origin of Malaria
Date:8/3/2009

Discovery Could Lead to Development of New Treatments, Prevent Future Plagues

SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 3 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today scientists reported that they have discovered the origin of malaria, one of the deadliest diseases of humanity. Chimpanzees, native to equatorial Africa, have been identified as the original source of the parasite that likely moved from them to humans via mosquitoes.

An international group of researchers, including senior author Nathan Wolfe, Ph.D., of the Global Viral Forecasting Initiative and Stanford University, made the discovery, published in the Aug. 3 2009 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, by identifying several new parasites from chimpanzees. The newly discovered parasites show that malaria jumped from animals to humans, much the way that HIV, SARS and swine flu originated.

"This discovery shows that ancient diseases, such as malaria, can originate in the same way that modern pandemics do, namely by jumping from animals to humans" Wolfe said. "We now know that malaria, while at least thousands of years old, did not originate in humans but rather was introduced into our species, presumably by the bite of a mosquito that had previously fed on a chimpanzee."

Until now, malaria's origin had been unclear. Although chimpanzees were known to harbor a parasite, called Plasmodium reichenowi, that is closely related to the dominant human malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, most scientists assumed incorrectly that these parasites had co-existed separately in human and chimpanzee ancestors for the last 5 million years.

The newly discovered parasites not only demonstrate how malaria originated, but represent potentially powerful tools for developing vaccines and treatments against this deadly scourge. Discovery of these parasites indicates that there is a much broader range of close relatives to the human parasite than were previously recognized, some of which might provide key insights in drug development or act as vaccines that could prevent human malaria.

"Dr. Wolfe's discovery of the origin of human malaria is a perfect example of the kind of research supported by the NIH Director's Pioneer Award program, which gives outstanding investigators a chance to test exceptionally innovative and potentially paradigm-shifting ideas," said Raynard S. Kington, M.D., Ph.D., acting director of the National Institutes of Health.

Wolfe and his colleagues sampled wild and wild-born captive chimpanzees in Cameroon and Ivory Coast. In Cameroon researchers collected samples from chimpanzees during routine health exams in three different wildlife sanctuaries. They were primarily wild-born animals brought to the sanctuaries after being confiscated by authorities or abandoned by human owners. In Ivory Coast scientists from the Robert Koch Institute and Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology collected tissue and blood samples from 10 chimps that had died due to anthrax, respiratory disease or other reasons in the Tai National Park. Samples were analyzed in the laboratory of Stephen Rich, Ph.D., at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

"It is now clear that a new disease that successfully jumps from an animal to a human can last not just for decades, but millennia or more," Wolfe said. "This makes the task of stopping future disease spillovers from animals to humans vital, not only for saving lives today, but for the health of people for many generations to come."

Every year malaria:

  • Accounts for 500 million cases per year.
  • Results in more than one million deaths -- mostly children.
  • Includes 1,300 cases in the United States.
  • Cuts economic growth by as much as 1.3 percent in countries with high disease rates.
  • Occurs primarily in tropical and subtropical regions such as Central and South America, Southeast Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean and the South Pacific Islands.

The Global Viral Forecasting Initiative has spent the last ten years developing a global system to prevent pandemics. By coupling innovative surveillance in field sites throughout the world with a consortium of top laboratories, GVFI is able to characterize the diversity of viruses and other agents as they move from animals to humans. GVFI virus hunter Nathan Wolfe, Ph.D., has studied how this happens -- and how frequently it happens -- and has identified a number of new infectious diseases. The group's work provides basic insights into how pandemics are born and employs cutting-edge strategies to prevent the next major pandemic.


'/>"/>
SOURCE Global Viral Forecasting Initiative
Copyright©2009 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

Related medicine technology :

1. International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health Features Discovery of Asbestos-Related Pain Origin from Scientists at the Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit
2. Scientists at The Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit Identify Potential New Target for Breast Cancer Therapy
3. Scientists Discover a Role for the Growth Factor TGF-beta in Maintaining Health of Retinal Blood Vessels
4. Scientists Discover Why Teeth Form in a Single Row
5. Scientists Unmask Genetic Markers Associated With Psoriasis
6. 42 Top U.S. Scientists and Specialists Explore Cutting-Edge Innovations to Defend America From Dangerous Zoonotic Diseases
7. Gene Found Activated in 70% of Prostate Cancer Cases, George Washington University Medical Center Scientists Report
8. Battelle Scientists Named on Patent for Making Oxygen From Light and Water
9. Scientists Reveal Roadmap to Brain Health That Can Be Passed Down to Future Generations: Exercise, Omega-3, Folic Acid, Vitamin B6, and Vitamin B12
10. Tengion Scientists Publish Key Preclinical Findings Demonstrating the Benefits of Organ Regeneration Vs. Repair
11. Brain Stem Cells Can Be Awakened, Say Schepens Scientists
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/19/2017)... , April 19, 2017  IRIDEX Corporation (Nasdaq: ... release financial results for the first quarter 2017 after ... The Company,s management team will host a corresponding conference ... ET. Investors interested in listening to the ... for domestic callers or (703) 326-3030 for international callers, ...
(Date:4/19/2017)... YORK , April 19, 2017 ... This report on the prostate cancer therapeutics ... the global market. Increasing prevalence of prostate cancer, ... innovation in the development of new drugs & ... prostate cancer drug due to lesser side effects ...
(Date:4/19/2017)... PUNE, India , April 19, 2017 ... Type and Application, Forecast to 2022 report has covered and ... provides statistics and information on market size, shares and growth ... with major drivers, challenges and opportunities in the global market. ... Browse 152 Tables and ...
Breaking Medicine Technology:
(Date:4/28/2017)... ... 28, 2017 , ... The Texas Cord Blood Bank (TCBB), a program of ... team at Women’s Hospital at Renaissance in Edinburg for their outstanding efforts in collecting ... decide to donate. , “Women’s Hospital at Renaissance has been a collection partner ...
(Date:4/28/2017)... ... 28, 2017 , ... Bill Howe started his sewer and drain company in ... Howe joined the team, the Bill Howe brand was born and they began cultivating ... giving back to the San Diego community in which they worked, lived and were ...
(Date:4/28/2017)... ... 2017 , ... Intellitec Solutions announced the publication of a ... Dynamics GP solution that integrates to their PointClickCare EHR software package. With the ... Brooke Grove now has the capability to achieve its goal for a comprehensive ...
(Date:4/28/2017)... ... April 28, 2017 , ... ... anniversary. SearchLight is the premier online modeling resource for fluorescence microscopists and optical ... active users during last 5 years spanning the globe, SearchLight has become a ...
(Date:4/27/2017)... ... , ... Healthcare companies are trying to meet talent shortages and find new ... resume. , “If you’re a healthcare executive open to new opportunities this year you’re ... ready as you are for a new job search. I’ve heard from countless job ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):