Researchers, at the universities of Edinburgh and Oxford, gave the parasites "jet lag" by inserting them into mice whose body clocks were different to their own 24-hour cycle. Malaria parasites are less effective at causing infection if they are out of sync with their victim's body clock, scientists have found.
They studied the malaria infection in mice which had been acclimatised to two daily routines, with some awake in the daytime and others at night. It was found that the parasite was only half as effective at infecting mice whose body clock was different to their own. The parasites' ability to transmit to mosquitos who carry the disease was also reduced. The discovery should help the development of malaria treatments because it gives scientists a greater understanding of when malaria parasites are at their most harmful and when they are vulnerable.