Origins Of Malaria

Hypothesis:

Knowing the origin(s) of malaria may be the key to help find its cure

Aims:

1) To find past traces of malaria to help find how malaria came to be

Objectives

1) To analyse ancient manuscripts and records for evidence of early cases of malaria

2) To analyse fossils of mosquitoes with traces of malaria

What Is Malaria?

Malaria is a parasite that is passed from person to person by an infected anopheles mosquito. After being infected it takes around 5 days for the effects to show and here's how this happens:

This top area shows how the malaria parasite enters the bloodstream and reproduces inside the red blood cells, feeding on the haemoglobin. This then destroys that cell and the process continues with all of the new malaria parasites and different red blood cells.

This diagram below shows a certain strain of malaria in the human and the mosquito. At a first glance you may be bewildered by it but after my explanation I'm sure you will understand it all.

 

Beginning from when man is first bitten (I use man as an example not for sexist views) the sporozoites enter the bloodstream and into the liver where they reproduce and exit as merozoites where they invade the red blood cells and multiply within them and escape as parasites. these then change again into gametocytes (reread if you are now confused). During a blood meal the mosquito will take in these gametocytes and they fuse together.these parasites produce a type of cocoon called an oocyst, reproduce and burst out and travel to the salivary gland where the process begins again.

Early malaria

Malaria has been traced back, at the earliest, to 30 million years ago. This is known because mosquito fossils were discovered with traces of malaria which dated back to around 30 million years ago. This may show us that malaria has been around during prehistory (before people could write or were even alive).

Also we know that in ancient Chinese, Indian and Egyptian manuscripts speak of people with the symptoms of malaria so we know that malaria has been around for a long time.

Malaria began being passed to different reptiles (Dinosaurs). This was passed from reptile to reptile by the Culex mosquito, not the Anopheles. This is still true for both reptile and bird species. Whereas the mammal parasites are carried by the anopheles. Therefore we know for a fact that the parasite would have evolved to fit the warm blooded bird species and therefore mammals because of the proven fact that humans evolved from apes (as birds did from reptiles).

At the beginning of this project I set out to find out how malaria came to be. At this moment in time I am still looking, and most certainly will always be looking for the answer. This is true because, as Einstein stated, it is impossible to travel through time but the more i search the closer i will be to the answer and maybe one day, my search will finally be over.

Follow this link to viewThe Presentation of this Project at the Launch Event