It’s hard for me, as a patriot, to read an article in EID about Plasmodium falciparum in ancient Egypt & shut up. The first emergence of Malaria in literature was when Hippocrates described the typical undulated fever which is highly characteristic for Malaria infection. Scientists made studies to identify P. falciparum‘s DNA in remains of a Roman infant (5th century) and another study on remains from 100-400 years ago.

They made their studies on 4000 years old mummies from Abydos, the Middle Kingdom tomb in Thebes West. Also samples from two different tombs from the New Kingdom until the Late Kingdom were taken. How did they know that those mummies had malarial infection? They simply searched for mummies had osteopathic evidence for chronic anemia. They ran PCR, a special technique called heminested PCR, using 18S rDNA primers. 2 of the 91 tested samples had chloroquine-resistance transporter (pfcrt) gene. I don’t know how, there wasn’t even chloroquine back there. They also ran immunological test which came positive for the P. falciparum histidine-rich protein-2 antigen.

Another thing came to my mind about Malaria. We must celebrate the launch of MalHaploFreq, the computer program which is designed for estimation of malaria haplotype frequencies in blood samples. Two awful facts about Malaria: There’s always drug resistance & multiple infections (the person can be infected by more than one type each one is resistant to an anti-malarial agent). All I know that they used Algorithm; this is really bad because I can’t stand math, and molecular markers to trace the spread of the drug-resistance & to predict the frequency of mutations.

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • email
  • StumbleUpon
  • Google Reader
  • LinkedIn
  • BlinkList
  • Reddit
  • Tumblr
Tags: , ,
7 Responses to “Malaria in ancient Egypt: When mummies talk, we’ve to listen!”
  1. dr_rose_kabeel says:

    I once attended a very interesting lecture about ancient DNA and I was amazed how much they struggle to make sure a mummy belongs to a king or its servant although if we put it in museum and put a label on it indicating it is for the queen and it was for her servant, who would find out?

    anyway, about ur question ya mariam,
    it’s a very nice question,I think the genes for chloroquine resistance may be attributed to the use of Cinchona bark which conatin quinine.
    I konw that discovering cinchona was after this, but it may have been used by ancient Egyptains and it wasn’t documented.
    so wut do u think?

  2. dr_rose_kabeel says:

    I have a question, why scientists are always searching for the history of emergence in that extensive manner?
    what is exteremly beneficial when we find out somehting about the ancient disease?

    Could that help us in studying the genomics of the microorganism?
    I don’t konw….

  3. Here’s the exact words said in the paper clarifying the purpose:
    “This report adds another infectious disease to the spectrum of paleomicrobiology in ancient Egypt, thereby further explaining the previously postulated influence of infectious diseases on the low life expectancy for ancient Egyptian populations. Molecular detection of pathogen aDNA can be used not only to identify a certain disease, but it may also provide information on disease frequency, evolutionary origin, and pathways.”

    aDNA: ancient DNA
    paleomicrobiology: past human infections

  4. I would think maybe it would help scientists trace the evolution of the micro-organism which might eventually assist in predicting further changes in this particular mo or similar ones

  5. I think Radwa is right.
    Science is all about knowing the mystery! It always amazes scientists how things develope and evolute. Who knows? They might figure out an unknown source of Malaria or different pathogenesis. That reminds me of a documentry I watched before about Plague. Relatively it’s old (sure not older than ages of mumies but yet old and relatively totally cured) but scientists still searching graves and look up the DNA of the deaths to figure out more details. There is never an “enough” to science… It’s endless. And being old doesn’t mean we know everything about it or we can’t get benefit from it…
    They say that things end from where they started. Who knows? Those tombs might clarify a big great secret of the amazing charming ancient Egypt!

  6. Translation:
    “Thanks for a post! Added blog in the RSS-reader, I shall read now on a regular basis..”
    Thank you, hope you find it useful. I also hope that the translation program works.
    “Спасибо, надеюсь, что вы найдете ее полезной. Я также надеюсь, что программа перевода произведений.”

  7. Sorry, I deleted that comment by mistake thinking it was spam. Here it is again:
    Author : Pieroique
    Спасибо за пост! Добавил блог в RSS-ридер, теперь читать буду регулярно..

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment. Login »