Blood cell infected with malaria parasite

Malaria is caused by the single-celled parasite Plasmodium. It is transmitted from one person to another by certain species of blood sucking mosquito. The parasite spends part of its complex life cycle inside red blood cells.

More about microbes


Microbes are always hitting the headlines. Keep up to date with the latest microbiology news. Most stories are linked to the full article.

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  • News on Social Media

    11th March, 2013

    Sorry about the disruption to our usual news service. We have been 'tweeting' and 'facebooking' the news lately. From now on we plan to upload only the main news stories here, though you will continue to see everything on our social media channels. If you have any questions or comments about this please get in touch.

  • Early HIV drugs 'slow virus down'

    17th January, 2013

    Giving a patient HIV drugs as soon as they are diagnosed could be the future of treatment, say researchers. Currently, antiretroviral therapy is given only once the immune system has been seriously weakened by infection. A trial, in the New England Journal of Medicine, showed that a year-long course of therapy after diagnosis helped preserve the immune system and keep the virus in check.

  • Generic HIV drugs 'cheaper but less effective'

    15th January, 2013

    Any rise in the use of cheaper, non-branded HIV drugs could see more patients with treatment failure, doctors warn. Soon-to-be available generic medicines could save the US health care system nearly $1bn a year, they say in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine. But trial data suggests generic drugs might be slightly less effective.

  • Mum's testing affects HPV jab uptake, says survey

    14th January, 2013

    A mother's attitude towards cervical cancer screening influences decisions to vaccinate daughters against the cancer, researchers in Manchester say. Data from 117,000 girls was analysed. Teenagers were at least three times more likely to have had the HPV vaccination if their mothers had been tested in the past five years.

  • Synthetic farm virus built in lab

    11th January, 2013

    A synthetic version of the Schmallenberg virus has been made in the laboratory by Scottish scientists. The research raises hopes for developing a vaccine for the livestock disease, which causes lambs and calves to be stillborn. Schmallenberg virus (SBV) was discovered little more than a year ago in Germany, but has now spread to several European countries. About 1,000 farms have reported cases across England and Wales.

  • Lung infection identified using 'breath-print'

    11th January, 2013

    Identifying the "smell" of different types of lung bacteria could lead to a simple breath test to diagnose infections, a study on mice, in the Journal of Breath Research, suggests. Breath analysis could reduce lung infection diagnosis times from weeks to minutes, the Vermont researchers said. Scientists have already researched breath tests to diagnose asthma and cancer. An expert said breath analysis was "an important and emerging field".

  • New strain of winter vomiting bug norovirus: Sydney 2012

    10th January, 2013

    A new strain of norovirus called Sydney 2012 is responsible for the majority of recent cases in England and Wales, the Health Protection Agency has found. Experts say the new variant is no more serious than other strains. The Sydney 2012 strain was first seen in Australia, where the norovirus season is lasting longer than usual as outbreaks continue into their summer.

  • Norovirus: New Year lull but it's not over yet

    8th January, 2013

    The number of new norovirus cases dropped over the New Year week but is expected to pick up again this month, according to the Health Protection Agency (HPA). Some 80,000 people across England and Wales suffered from the winter vomiting bug in the week up to January 6, the HPA reported, down from 100,000 over Christmas week. The apparent slowdown is probably due to the fact that lots of GPs' surgeries were closed for part of the week, meaning fewer people saw their doctors with symptoms. The number of estimated cases is based on the number of laboratory confirmed cases. Nonetheless, this season's norovirus outbreak remains substantially larger than last winter's.

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