A new study published in Nature Communications suggests that roofing made from coral can prevent malaria transmission in tropical countries.
The findings support a long-standing belief that coral can act as a mosquito-proof roof in tropical climates, and could be a promising treatment for malaria in some parts of the world.
Coral reef corals, which can grow up to 150 metres (490 feet) in length, are common in tropical waters.
They have evolved a protective coating of tiny corals called sponges that are able to hold the malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, on to their scales.
Coral reefs are important for a wide range of wildlife, including reef sharks, crabs, turtles, and fish.
They also have an important role in helping to control malaria.
The researchers used a technique called ‘superfiltration’ to measure the parasite’s DNA on coral spongy scales and found that they were resistant to malaria.
“The findings indicate that coral reef coral roof systems have some remarkable properties,” says lead author Dr David Dabry from the University of New South Wales in Australia.
“They can effectively prevent malaria, but only in certain tropical regions.”
The new findings come as a surprise to scientists who thought that coral would be resistant to the parasite because it’s so hard to infect coral reefs.
“It’s the perfect place for malaria to be found,” says Dabrios, who was part of the research team that conducted the research.
The new research, which was led by Dr Navid Barghouti from the Universidad de Buenos Aires in Argentina, suggests that the coral could be useful in areas where malaria transmission is high.
Dr Barghouthi, who is now based at the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University College London, says that the new research highlights the value of coral reefs in preventing malaria.
He says that coral reefs provide a very natural habitat for the malaria parasites and could help to maintain their health.
“Coral reefs can provide a natural habitat where the parasites can breed, which is important because malaria is a parasite that spreads between humans and other animals,” says Barghousei.
“If coral reefs can protect people from malaria, then we might be able to do this by putting some protection measures in place.”
Coral reef reefs are very rich in protein and vitamins.
Dr Dabraos says that in the study, the researchers found that coral spore protein, a component of coral, was very effective at preventing malaria from reaching the corals.
This protein can be made from a variety of species of corals including the common coral, the blue, and the green.
“This shows that it is possible to produce a high protein product from corals,” says Dr Dabs.
“We think that it would be possible to make a high quality product from the spore in the coral reefs.”
The researchers also found that the sponge had a high ability to prevent the malaria virus from penetrating into the coral, which may have helped to slow the parasite from reaching humans.
The results also show that the proteins were able to protect the spongs from being washed off by water, which could have been an issue in areas with high levels of salinity.
This could mean that the coralline spongemes could be used to filter water from water in tropical areas where salinity is high, or in other areas where it may be difficult to get the water out.
The scientists also used a genetic test to test the spondyloarthropod’s resistance to malaria and found the parasite was able to penetrate into the spodumene spongers.
These spongels are an important part of coral ecosystems.
“What’s really interesting is that we found that spongel genes are very stable over a long period of time,” says Baghouthi.
He adds that the researchers have found that these spongells are able protect against disease.
The study has been published in the journal Nature Communications.
The research was funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the University Hospital of Buenos Aires.
Source: Nature Communications article