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Do our medicines boost pathogens?

Date: 23.12.2011 

Scientists of the Institute of Tropical Medicine (ITG) discovered a parasite that not only had developed resistance against a common medicine, but at the same time had become better in withstanding the human immune system."To our knowledge it is the first time such a doubly armed organism appears in nature", says researcher Manu Vanaerschot, who obtained a PhD for his detective work at ITG and Antwerp University.

The combined resistance against a medicine and the human immune system emerged in Leishmania donovani, the species causing the deadly form of the disease.
There is no absolute proof yet (among other things, because one obviously cannot experiment on humans) but everything suggests that resistant Leishmania not only survive better in humans - have a higher "fitness" - but also are better at making people ill - have a higher "virulence" - than their non-resistant counterparts.

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