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Malarial liver parasites awaken in culture

The cure and elimination of malaria caused by Plasmodium vivax is hindered by the threat of relapse infections from undetectable dormant forms of the parasite in the liver. In a new breakthrough, using a related parasite, Plasmodium cynomolgi, it has been shown that the small nongrowing forms of the parasite, termed hypnozoites, can be reactivated in primary simian hepatocytes that have been infected and maintained in culture for 40 days, providing a system to study this parasite form with the development of potential new antihypnozoite drugs in mind (pages 307–312).

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Figure 1: Growth and development of P. cynomolgi or P. vivax.

Marina Corral Spence

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Correspondence to John W Barnwell or Mary R Galinski.

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Barnwell, J., Galinski, M. Malarial liver parasites awaken in culture. Nat Med 20, 237–239 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1038/nm.3498

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