Chlorinated urine may eradicate parasitic disease

Image copyright Jonathon Isacson Image caption The parasitic disease disrupts food chains, disrupting them in a way that is eventually fatal

Researchers say it is possible that a condition found in one in every 100 baby cocoons could eventually be completely eradicated.

Plasmodium subtilis lives in human foetuses and feeds off the blood of mothers-to-be.

The parasite may not be able to thrive in the tropical forest where it is endemic.

The findings could help prevent it from reaching new populations, such as in developing countries, making it easier to prevent.

In the clinical trial on adults, animals were taken from different groups and put under a microscope.

Image copyright WWR Systematic Diseases Image caption Plasmodium subtilis grows in stagnant water in the animals’ faeces

The researchers, from Pennsylvania State University, found that they were all susceptible to the disease.

Even in men, male mosquitoes and fruit flies were all found to have plasmodium subtilis in their blood, indicating that the disease could also spread, as past research had suggested.

By focusing on plasmodium subtilis instead of the parasite which causes tropical diseases such as malaria, the research may provide the target for further efforts to protect humans from endemic disease.

The latest study was published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

It was conducted in the Amazonian jungle of Peru, with participants as young as 21 weeks old, before becoming infected with the parasite.

Initially, the adult blood of 60 percent of the animals tested carried the infection, but after developing immunity to the parasite, 90 percent of the animals no longer did.

The disease in the mice and monkeys was eradicated after four to 12 weeks and the monkeys became extinct after 35 years.

“This study has implications for the management of human tropical diseases like malaria, which are spread by mosquitoes and fruit flies,” said co-author Gordon McDowell, from Pennsylvania State University.

“It is also an important study about biodiversity, conservation, and even issues related to evolution.”

Florent Bonneville, co-author of the research, said the process of infection was so predictable that “if you give the micropole [infected animal] blood, it should have a sick body.”

Mr Bonneville added: “As a consequence of having adapted to life in the Amazon, the animals may not be able to keep plasmodium subtilis from spreading, because they may not be able to stay immune once they become adults.”

Image copyright WWR Systematic Diseases Image caption The parasite’s blood is found in the blood of many animals, including humans

Image copyright WSUP Image caption Scientists in Mexico have experimented with draining the water in which parasite-infected mosquitoes were drinking in order to limit their ability to reproduce

“In the tropical forest, this could mean the parasite might be eliminated by reposing in floating conditions, but in the wild, the ‘disease envelope’ that the organism inhabits is more difficult to manipulate,” he said.

Jonathan Isacson, senior research fellow in disease ecology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, agreed the research was important.

He told the BBC: “All tropical viruses evolve in stagnant pools of water, especially since it’s hard to get mosquitos out of the stagnant water they are already in.”

The parasite is also spreading towards the UK in baby cocoons, mainly from Europe.

The risk is highest in Romania, where the number of infections had risen to nearly one a day between 2010 and 2017.

Leave a Comment