Scientists discover new strategy to treat tropical disease

Thanks to improved surveillance and distribution the tropical disease Caenorhabditis elegans has been isolated from people across Central and South America. But one in 6 people who live in Central America including the United States is infected with the disease each year. And it is notoriously secretive: in order to track disease outbreaks models must be developed that trap the organism revealing its behaviour and storing it. Various models have been proposed mainly using long strands of DNA that cant be cut and will therefore end up in chimpanzees or other humans. Realising this a group of scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Center (PRF-CPSC) in Neuchtel the Pasteur Credit Unes Institute in Paris and in the lab of Professor Thomas Schereck from Amherst for FASEB (Centre nationale de la Recherche Scientifique and Genome Research BEAST) have developed a new approach: isolating infected animals.

Caenorhabditis elegans is a nematode worm that affects animals of the tropical rainforest and is found throughout recently colonized Central America. It is transmitted to humans through a nematode flea infected with the parasite Caenorhabditis yeasts. From persons infected it infects to some extent the gall bladder and the small intestine and can cause liver failure renal failure and other health problems.

In order to establish chains of detection the scientists developed an algorithm that according to the researchers: searches the DNA phylogeny obtained via genome-wide screen discovery for organisms that are resistant to the disease. This in turn is adapted to isolate organisms with a genome-wide test for organisms that belong to the order Caenorhabditis elegans clade i. e. species that already are endemic to all three tropics that are present in the world landscape. The suitability of the test considering geographical constraints a recent lake and climate are itself characteristics that indicate the development approach. The result is a test that if unable to find a convincing candidate is likely to be put to use from the existing models used for the whole of the tropics. The research was carried out in collaboration with the Gerontopological Federative University of Freisthaven-Astemina (GAPENG) the University of Freisthaven (Nrnberg) the IIT-Klinikum Wiesenshallern and the Institute of Tropical Medicine Tama Nkuna (Madrid).