London: Gorillas first transmitted the malaria parasite to humans thousands of years ago, according to a new research.The latest finding could help develop a vaccine for malaria, which claims 1.5 million lives every year and sickens 500 million more.
Until recently, the closest known relative of P. falciparum was a chimpanzee parasite P. reichenowi, believed to have diverged from its human counterpart at the same time as the ancestors of chimps and humans more than five million years ago. Within the past year, other closely related Plasmodium strains have been detected in chimps, western gorillas and bonobos, raising the possibility that P. falciparum in humans could have arisen as a consequence of cross-species transmission from one or more of these apes. IANS
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