Begins To Pay Off Parasites evoke a gut reaction, both literally and figuratively. The synonyms for the worms, insects, and protozoans that survive off the life force of other animals are skin-crawling and stomach-churning: bloodsuckers and leeches, to name a few.

And it's not by accident that these words evoke such feelings. Once they are firmly ensconced in various viscera, internal parasites produce a range of debilitating and deadly symptoms. Such conditions are more than metaphorical for many people. In developing countries especially, parasitic diseases like malaria, schistosomiasis, leishmaniasis, sleeping sickness, and hookworm-related anemia affect hundreds of millions.

For decades, the study of parasites has been the domain of specialists in tropical medicine and epidemiology. But now, the vermin that are the scourge of the Third World are the subjects of exciting new biomedical investigations. Research on the molecular biology of parasites could lead to new ways of combating classic...

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