A scientist at Yale University has developed a novel method to identify malaria in the bone marrow of ancient human remainsThis is the first time that researchers have been able to establish a diagnostic skeletal profile for the disease, which is transmitted by mosquitoes and continues to infect millions of people around the world.
Thanks to this collaboration between science and archeology, the scientists they will be able to track the spread of this disease until approximately its first appearance in humans.
Jarmie Inwood, a Yale graduate student, stated that “the data set that we have built using this method will be completely revolutionary in establishing the epidemiological curve of malaria in ancient societies. To understand how this kind of parasite has reacted to social changes in the past, we can predict what its behavior will be like in the future, thus understanding the way it has evolved. "
What was sought in the human remains was a substance called polymeric hemozoin, which is produced by the parasite that causes malaria. They have revealed that this technique can be even more efficient than other analysis methods such as the extraction of aDNA pathogens, which produce results that are not completely conclusive and are difficult to ratify when preservation conditions are not adequate.
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On the other hand, a pre-Inwood research team, led by David Soren of the University of Arizona, had performed aDNA testing of human remains dating back to 550 AD. in the Italian town of Lugnano in Teverina. It was determined that an epidemic may have occurred in the community that caused major fevers or attacks.
They were used different bones like a femur and a humerus, confirming the presence of a kind of black lumps, which were finally crystallized hemozoin within the bone marrow itself; When it was analyzed it was possible to know that it was traces of malaria, which allows knowing a large volume of information about the disease in the future.
For his part, Roderick Mcintosh, professor of anthropology at Yale University, stated that “there is a constant evolution of this disease due to different changes in human populations as well as changes in the drugs we use to treat it”. Without a doubt, it is formidable news that will allow us to know more about this disease.
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