A parasite researcher from NYU is hoping to tackle African sleeping sickness in Kenya by creating genetically enhanced cows that cannot catch or transmit the disease.
Jayne Raper believes that to truly help people, sometimes you have to start with another species. In this case, cows.
Unlike Raper, a parasite researcher at New York University, most scientists who want to help people suffering from African sleeping sickness are trying to develop new drugs that fare better than the expensive, toxic treatments on the market. But this approach might not be good enough, especially since the rural Kenyan farmers coping with African sleeping sickness have concerns beyond their own health: their cattle, which also catch the disease.
While African sleeping sickness kills around 60,000 people per year, the cattle variant, called nagana, can wipe out up to 40 percent of livestock in endemic areas. Raper wants to create cattle armed with a gene that makes them immune to the disease.
Read more … [ScienceLine]