Parasites like Toxoplasma gondii could be used as a bio-weapon | 像弓形蟲這樣的寄生蟲可以用作生物武器

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Parasites like Toxoplasma gondii could be used as a bio-weapon

Toxoplasma gondii, a parasite commonly found in cats and mice, may have infected one third of the world population and there is a link between the infection of this parasite and schizophrenia even though it remains unclear whether Toxoplasma gondii is responsible or at least partially responsible for schizophrenia.

People may pick up the parasite Toxoplasma gondii by contacting infected people or cats. This can happen when the uninfected ones touch infected people or cats and then grab foods without washing the hands first.

Studies found that Toxoplasma gondii can alter the brain structure in mice,cats and even people (that is why it is suspected that this prasite causes schizophrenia) even after the hosts are treated for the parasite.

In mice, this parasite alter the animals’ brain cells leading to the loss of their innate fear of cats even after the parasite is treated to reduce the count of the parasite. That is, Toxoplasma gondii may be treated, but its effect on the host’s pathological behavior remains.

The fact that the infection of Toxoplasma gondii can cause behavioral changes in animals and people reminds us that parasites like Toxoplasma gondii could be used as a bio-weapon. Imagine that a parasite like Toxoplasma gondii gets genetically modified in a way that it can destroy people’s cognitive ability and shorten their lifespan.

 

像弓形蟲這樣的寄生蟲可以用作生物武器

弓形蟲是一種常見於貓和小鼠體內的寄生蟲,可能已經感染了世界三分之一的人口,並且這種寄生蟲的感染與精神分裂症之間存在聯繫,儘管目前尚不清楚弓形蟲是否與精神分裂症有關或至少部分負責 精神分裂症。

人們可能通過接觸感染者或貓而感染寄生蟲弓形蟲。 當未感染者接觸感染者或貓,然後在沒有先洗手的情況下搶食物時,就會發生這種情況。

研究發現,即使宿主接受了寄生蟲治療,弓形蟲也可以改變小鼠、貓甚至人類的大腦結構(這就是為什麼懷疑這種寄生蟲會導致精神分裂症)。

在小鼠中,這種寄生蟲會改變動物的腦細胞,導致它們失去對貓的天生恐懼,即使在對寄生蟲進行治療以減少寄生蟲數量之後也是如此。 也就是說,弓形蟲可以被治療,但其對宿主病理行為的影響仍然存在。

弓形蟲感染會導致動物和人的行為改變,這一事實提醒我們,像弓形蟲這樣的寄生蟲可以用作生物武器。 想像一下,像弓形蟲這樣的寄生蟲經過基因改造,可以破壞人們的認知能力並縮短他們的壽命。

References

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