However throughout the dry season, the researchers discovered, the parasites in most purple blood cells stopped making the sticky variations of that protein. They slipped away into the spleen to their destruction. However a couple of clingy survivors held on, and appeared to decelerate their metabolism, like microscopic bears hibernating for the winter.
This had two results that protected them.
First, by measuring the inflammatory proteins produced by the immune system, Dr. Portugal confirmed that the reclusive parasites had in some way turn into too “quiet” to set off the immune counterattack which may destroy them.
Second, too few sticky cells remained to clog mind capillaries, so even contaminated kids survived.
“A parasite that kills its host throughout the dry season reaches a useless finish,” Dr. Portugal stated.
Sarah K. Volkman, a molecular biologist at Harvard’s T.H. Chan Faculty of Public Well being and a number one malaria knowledgeable, referred to as the brand new examine “necessary.” Dr. Volkman’s analysis in Senegal has discovered that parasite lineages continued in villages for 10 years. She famous that understanding the significance of that small dry-season reservoir may reveal methods to destroy the parasites when they’re at their weakest.
Dr. Miriam K. Laufer, a malaria specialist on the College of Maryland’s medical faculty, additionally praised the examine, saying it “delivered concrete information about issues we thought had been the case, resembling that the dry season infections don’t elicit a giant immune response.”
Dr. Nicholas J. White, director of a malaria analysis unit based mostly on the College of Oxford and Mahidol College in Thailand, was extra reserved, noting that researchers in Vietnam had beforehand proven that parasites persist in dry months.
Parasites would possibly merely “change their garments” each few cycles to keep away from being acknowledged by the immune system, he argued, and the decrease variety of cells clinging to partitions might be defined by a change within the host’s antibody response quite than by a change within the parasite.