Medications

Finding new drugs to fight malaria

Malaria is an infection of red blood cells and is caused by parasites that are transferred to humans by mosquitoes. If left untreated, it can be fatal. In 2020 alone, nearly half the globe's population was at risk of being ...

Medications

Researchers discover potential treatment for Chagas disease

Researchers from the University of Georgia have discovered a potential treatment for Chagas disease, marking the first medication with promise to successfully and safely target the parasitic infection in more than 50 years.

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Gene-edited malaria vaccine warrants further study

Findings from a preliminary human study of an experimental, genetically attenuated malaria parasite immunization show this vaccine warrants further exploration.

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Chagas: Less neglect for a neglected tropical disease

One thing you might want even less than a "kiss" from a kissing bug is its feces. Scientifically referred to as triatomine bugs, these blood-sucking insects can carry in their feces and pass on to humans the parasite Trypanosoma ...

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Parasitism

Parasitism is a type of symbiotic relationship between two different organisms where one organism, the parasite, takes favor from the host, sometimes for a prolonged time. In general, parasites are much smaller than their hosts, show a high degree of specialization for their mode of life, and reproduce more quickly and in greater numbers than their hosts. Classic examples of parasitism include interactions between vertebrate hosts and diverse animals such as tapeworms, flukes, the Plasmodium species, and scabs. Parasitism is differentiated from parasitoidism, a relationship in which the host is always killed by the parasite such as moths, butterflies, ants, flies and others.

The harm and benefit in parasitic interactions concern the biological fitness of the organisms involved. Parasites reduce host fitness in many ways, ranging from general or specialized pathology (such as castration), impairment of secondary sex characteristics, to the modification of host behaviour. Parasites increase their fitness by exploiting hosts for food, habitat and dispersal.

Although the concept of parasitism applies unambiguously to many cases in nature, it is best considered part of a continuum of types of interactions between species, rather than an exclusive category. Particular interactions between species may satisfy some but not all parts of the definition. In many cases, it is difficult to demonstrate that the host is harmed. In others, there may be no apparent specialization on the part of the parasite, or the interaction between the organisms may be short-lived. In medicine, only eukaryotic organisms are considered parasites, with the exclusion of bacteria and viruses. Some branches of biology, however, regard members of these groups as parasitic.[citation needed]

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