Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Fantastic Voyage - Initial Thoughts

After looking at the four scenarios the one that stands out most for me is the Malaria life cycle, I find it really interesting just how devastating the virus is and how it's life cycle works.

Above is a diagram of the life cycle of Malaria. It's amazing how the virus works and reproduces, it starts off with a infected female Anopheles mosquito biting a human, this injects Plasmodium parasites which are known as sporozoites into the blood stream. These sporozoites quickly find there way to the liver and invade the liver cells which are also know as hepatocytes, they then proceed to reproduce asexually creating thousands of merozoites which eventually cause the liver cell to collapse. The released merozoites enter the bloodstream again and invade healthy red blood cells, they multiple again until they burst out of the cell and proceed to infect more healthy red blood cells. Some of the merozoites that infect the red blood cell will become male or female gametocytes, these cells stay in the bloodstream for a few days and can then be ingested by another mosquito as it feasts on the human, these cells mature in the mosquito's gut. The gametocytes develop further into gametes and merge to create ookinetes, from here the ookinetes burrow through the mosquito's gut wall and form oocysts. Sporozoites start to develop inside the oocyst, eventually causing it to burst, which releases the sporozoites, these then travel to the mosquito's salivary glands. The cycle starts again when the infected mosquito bites a human.

I find it extremely interesting and slightly scary how the sporozoites and merozoites invade cells and multiple in them until they burst, the concept kind of makes me think of like a war inside the body. I decided to find some animations that would help me understand it slightly better, one of which was this animation.

I found another diagram that shows the life cycle of Malaria, this image for me successfully breaks down the life cycle into three acts, which is something I could possibly use as a base for the acts.

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