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University of Virginia, School of Medicine

Scientists Create Immunity to Deadly Parasite 

Scientists Create Immunity to Deadly Parasite By Manipulating Host’s Genes Breakthrough Offers New Strategy to Protect Humans From Infectious Diseases


There are two common approaches to protecting humans from infectious disease: Targeting pathogens and parasites with medicines such as antibiotics, or dealing with the conditions that allow transmission. Exciting new research from the University of Virginia School of Medicine and the University of Colorado demonstrates the effectiveness of a third strategy: adjusting the landscape of the human body to remove the mechanism that allows pathogens to cause disease.  


The researchers have silenced genes within human cells to induce immunity to the parasite E. histolytica, which infects 50 million people and causes 40,000-110,000 deaths via severe diarrhea worldwide each year. “This amoeba is a cluster bomb – a voracious killer,” said UVA’s Chelsea Marie, PhD, noting the challenge the researchers faced in blocking the amoeba’s ability to kill human cells. “In the back of my mind I was thinking the parasite was going to decimate the host cells no matter what we did with their genetics.”



Harry Moxley, Producer/Director/DP/Editor




Original Videography


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