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How Prawns Can Combat Disease

How Prawns Can Combat Disease

July 19, 2016

Medical Research, Natural Sciences

The Jerusalem Post — Most people only see prawns as a simple crustacean, but a research team from Ben-Gurion University sees them as a way to fight disease in Africa.

Recently, the BGU research team worked with colleagues from Ibadan University in Nigeria to study how prawns can be used to feed on a particular snail that proliferates in streams in the region, carrying a dangerous parasite.

Prof. Amir Sagi

Prof. Amir Sagi

Led by Prof. Amir Sagi of BGU’s Department of Life Sciences and National Institute for Biotechnology in the Negev, the group is focusing on finding the best way to use prawns to eat the snails.

“The project will eventually be developed into a larger field of study and demonstrate the use of biocontrol to help eradicate disease,” says Prof. Sagi.

The snails host a parasitic worm that causes schistosomiasis, a disease that damages internal organs and affects 200 million people worldwide, coming only second to malaria in terms of the devastation it causes, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Prof. Sagi has also pioneered technology to produce all-male populations of prawns that can grow up to 60 percent larger than females and help increase world food supply.

Read more on The Jerusalem Post website >>