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Bacteria used to fight sleeping sickness

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Scientists believe they have found a way to beat sleeping sickness using a bacterium against the tsetse fly host that spreads the disease to humans.

In the same way that we have friendly bacteria in our intestines, the tsetse fly harbours bacteria in its midgut, muscle and salivary glands.

Experts in Belgium have genetically modified these "good bugs" so they attack the culprit parasite carried by the fly.

But work is needed to hone the process.

The latest findings are published in the open access journal Microbial Cell Factories. "Expression and extracellular release of a functional anti-trypanosome Nanobody(R) in Sodalis glossinidius, a bacterial symbiont of the tsetse fly" - http://www.microbialcellfactories.com/content/11/1/23/abstract

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