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Scientists have decoded the genetic blueprint of two parasitic flatworms responsible for thousands of deaths worldwide every year.
Schistosomiasis cases top 200 million every year, with 20 million people are seriously disabled by severe anaemia, chronic diarrhoea, internal bleeding and organ damage caused by the worms and their eggs, or the immune system reactions they provoke. In sub-Saharan Africa alone it kills 280,000 people each year.
Researcher Dr Matthew Berriman, of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, said: "This genome sequence catapults schistosomiasis research into a new era. "It provides a foundation for understanding aspects of the parasite's complex biology as well as a vehicle to immediately identify new targets for drug treatment." Fellow researcher Dr Najib El-Sayed, of the University of Maryland, said: "The genome sequence has given us, for the first time, a comprehensive view of the engines that drive the parasite, the strategies that allow it to survive in us, its human host.
Originally posted by Jomina
And it's probably a really sad statement into how I think things are going some days that I immediately thought, "well, wonder how long before some crackpot scientist comes along and weaponizes it..."
But... yeah it's good news when they step closer to a cure for diseases!