Archive for February, 2010

Disease-causing agents – a potential source of medicine?

Sunday, February 14th, 2010

We can learn a lot from the world of parasites, which in general also includes bacteria, viruses and fungi. The medical profession has long focused on bacteria and viruses more-so than parasitic protozoa partly due to the fact of how causes of disease have traditionally been identified. A pathogen had to be shown to be associated with a particular disease. In this respect it had to be isolated, grown in a pure culture, and inoculated into a host which would then produce the disease. The organism in the host also had to be shown to be the pathogen that the host was inoculated with. Bacteria and viruses were easily characterized as disease causing agents within these set of rules, but protozoa, despite their ability to cause severe disease, never really fell easily into this category. Protozoa have an extremely complex process not only in terms of the biological sense but also in terms of survival and the means in which they infect their hosts. (more…)