A team of MIT researchers has discovered a new target for drug treatments for prevalent diseases such as malaria. The findings focus on a membrane between the parasite and its host cell, with scientists successfully identifying a family of proteins that, when targeted, could cut off nutrients to the parasite.
In Africa, the spread of parasitic worms known as Loa loa is seriously hindering the efforts of health care workers to cure particular rampant diseases. Though there are drugs available to treat both river blindness and lymphatic filariasis, if they are administered to a patient who also happens to also be infected with Loa loa the consequences can be lethal. This is complicated further by the inherent difficulties in screening for the worms, but a newly developed mobile phone microscope needing only a drop of blood to automatically detect the parasite promises to make things a whole lot simpler.