Mar 16, 2017 06:49 PM EDT
Malaria is one of the few parasites that can infect red blood cells as it multiplies inside an internal compartment called parasitophorous vacuole. Eventually, both the vacuole and red blood cells break allow the release of a new generation of parasites.
The study was conducted by Mike Blackman together with Emma Sherling and Christiaan van Ooji. According to Phys.Org, the parasite needs to change the cell surface for the production of channels to import the substances it needs to grow. The researchers wanted to discover the mechanism of how the parasites of malaria do these.
Blackman and his team evaluated the role of a protein called RhopH3 in the life cycle of malaria. RhopH3 comes from structures called rhoptries which the parasites discharge as it invades red blood cells. The results showed that RhopH3 is important in the role of nutrient import channels in the blood cell. In addition, it was also discovered that RhopH3 is needed in the efficient invasion of red blood cells proving that the protein is essential for the survival of the parasite inside the blood cell.
This discovery can lead in advancing the treatment of malaria knowing that resistance is already demoralized some of the antimalarial drugs. Through RhopH3 and other mechanisms involved, the development of new classes of drug to stop malaria from evading and establishing growth in the blood cell will be carried out.
Meanwhile, as reported by World Health Organization (WHO), malaria is a life-threatening disease that is transmitted through the bite of infected female Anopheles mosquito. The infection is preventable and curable as in 2015 the incidence among populations risk fell by 21 percent globally. Moreover, the mortality rate among populations at risk fell by 29 percent globally while 35 percent among children under 5.
Malaria is caused by "Plasmodium" parasites; P. falciparum is prevalent in African continents while P. vivax is the most dominant parasite outside of sub- Saharan Africa. The transmission is more intense in places where the mosquito lifespan is longer. The treatment includes the different combination of anti-parasitic drugs such as artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT).