Don’t let a sleeping bug lie
New research from the collaborated efforts of scientists at iMM Lisboa, Portugal, and Southwestern University, USA, has revealed that the parasite responsible for sleeping sickness has its own internal clock. Trypanosoma brucei was already known to disrupt its hosts’ internal clocks – also known as circadian rhythms – but this study has shown that the parasite also has its own, which allows it to change its cellular functions based on the time of day. Further investigation found that the alterations meant that T. brucei becomes more sensitive to a specific drug in the evening. The results could potentially allow doctors to understand when it would be best to target the parasite while treating patients affected by sleeping sickness.