Although viruses and bacteria currently get the lion’s share of research money and media attention, parasitic diseases kill millions of people each year. Why are they overlooked so frequently? They largely don’t affect Americans. It’s the sad, but true, world of science and journalism and research funding.
However, in the most recent edition of PLoS Pathogens, researchers from the University of Georgia and the University of Montana (among others) released a ground-breaking study on Apicomplexa biology. Hadn’t heard of Apicomplexa? Neither had I. But they are a phylum that consists of many of the parasites that have plauged humans for millennia, such as Toxoplasma gondii, Cryptosporidia, and Plasmodium sp., the latter of which cause malaria in hundreds of millions of people each year. Continue reading