BPoD has moved!

BPoD has recently changed our domain name - we can now be found at bpod.org.uk

Please update your bookmarks!

Now in our 13th year of bringing you beautiful imagery from biomedical science every day

Search the archive of over 4000 images

Old Blood

Resistance to anti-malarials found in the parasites that existed before the drugs

22 January 2020

Old Blood

We usually think of malaria as a disease that’s confined to tropical regions like sub-Saharan Africa, South East Asia and South America, so it may be surprising to know that it used to be widespread across Europe and was still present in Spain as recently as the 1960s. Malaria is caused by blood-borne parasites that are transmitted by mosquitoes. These glass microscope slides, made in 1944, are coated with blood from Spanish patients infected with malaria parasites (highlighted by red arrows). Scientists have now been able to extract and sequence DNA from these long-gone parasites and compare it with genomes from malaria parasites around the world today. Intriguingly, these Spanish samples have certain genetic mutations that make them resistant to modern anti-malarial drugs, despite the treatments not having been invented at the time. And they also reveal that European colonists unhelpfully introduced malaria to South America in the 15th century.

Written by Kat Arney

Search The Archive

Submit An Image

Follow on Tumblr

Follow on Instagram

What is BPoD?

BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC Laboratory of Medical Sciences until Jul 2023, it is now run independently by a dedicated team of scientists and writers. The website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biology, and its influence on medicine. The ever-growing archive of more than 4000 research images documents over a decade of progress. Explore the collection and see what you discover. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

Read More

BPoD is also available in Catalan at www.bpod.cat with translations by the University of Valencia.