An international group of investigators showed that sleeping sickness creates a metabolic fingerprint in blood and urine that could enable the development of a new diagnostic.
Scientists analyzed the metabolic profiles of 12 mice infected with the parasite Trypanosoma brucei. They carried out their analyses two days before infection and at a series of points over a 33-day period after infection.
The team found that infection with the parasite creates distinct metabolic fingerprints in the blood and urine and that these fingerprints are different at different stages of the disease. This fingerprint was visible in the blood as early as one day after infection.
The scientists involved came from Imperial College London, Swiss Tropical Institute, University Hospital Basel, and Princeton University. The research is published in the April 15 issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.