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malaria

Living with parasites: A Himalayan tale of birds, mosquitoes and malaria

Humans are not the only organisms under threat by the malarial parasite Plasmodium. These parasites are known to infect a range of animals from primate to reptiles, theis list also includes birds. In their recent study Scientists from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore have collected these parasites from the blood of various species of birds in the Himalayan foothills. Through their study the team was to show the burden of infection in birds and the seasonality of the infection.

“Trapping” RBCs to throw light on Malaria

Malaria, a deadly mosquito borne disease, kills about half a million people around the world, every year. Developing countries face a challenge in accurately diagnosing malaria in early stages due to the need of sophisticated diagnostic devices and skill. A new study at IISc has developed a technique to test for malaria with very small quantities of blood samples using laser light. By holding a single RBC using a pair of 'optical tweezers', this technique can detect malarial parasites in the RBCs even at an early stage, say the researchers. The researchers claim this technique can help save many lives if commercialised on a larger scale. 

Hitchhiking Parasites: A Cautionary Tale

Blyth's Reed Warbler

Migration of birds is a fascinating story. Many birds across the world travel to different locations in search of food and a warm place to breed. A new study has now found a dark side of the fascinating tale of migration -- the risk of spread of diseases. The researchers have studied two species of migratory birds and have identified the presence of two strains of parasites in them that could potentially spread the disease to the local bird population, which do not have the required immunity to fight against them. The researchers warn that their finding could put the entire local bird population at the risk of contracting the diseases.

Malaria diagnosis to the doorstep

A handheld device that can detect malaria in less than 30 minutes has won the ‘Best Innovator’s Pitch’ award at the recently concluded Innovation Centre Stage event held in Delhi. The award is given by the Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), Government of India.