The high mortality and morbidity rate caused by infections by enteroparasites such as Giardia lamblia and Entamoeba histolytica, mainly in developing countries, is indicative of the absence of adequate methods of prevention, diagnosis, and treatments for the control of pathogenesis. In our group, we are especially interested in the development of new diagnostic methods, as well as new strategies for intestinal parasitosis treatments.

  1. lamblia is an intestinal protozoan parasite that causes giardiasis, which can be asymptomatic or cause acute and chronic disease in some cases. Current evidence suggests that the Giardia adaptation represents an extreme example of reductive evolution without loss of function, been an ideal model to study different cellular mechanisms, including programmed cell death (PCD). Since the PCD mechanism in this organism that lacks mitochondria should follow a non-classical route, it might be a target for new therapeutic agents, considering that current treatments are not totally effective.

On the other hand, E. histolytica causes amebiasis; the parasite can asymptomatically reside in the gastrointestinal tract, invade the intestinal lining causing colitis and dysentery, or enter the bloodstream and travel to other organs, mainly the liver or brain, where it causes abscesses. E. histolytica might be differentiated from other non-pathogenic Entamoebas like E.dispar and E. moshkovskii, which are morphologically identical, before treatment. On the basis of the need for improved diagnostic procedures, our group is developing a simple Lateral Flow test. Unlike other lateral flow tests, this all-in-one technique will be able to distinguish between E. histolytica, E.dispar, and E. moshkovskii simultaneously in one strip, diagnosing amebiasis using a single stool sample.


FLORENCIA BARZOLA, Biology student. Faculty of Exact Physical and Natural Sciences (UNC).




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