ROME (ANSA) - Italian scientists have contributed to a major breakthrough in the fight against one of the world's most common sexually transmitted diseases, trichomoniasis.
A team of researchers from the University of Sassari, Sardinia, helped map out the DNA of the parasite that infects the urogenital tract and causes the disease to develop.
Trichomoniasis, which is passed on by unprotected sexual intercourse, is the world's most common non-viral STD.
The parasite behind it, Trichomonas vaginalis, has infected around 170 million people in the world today, according to the World Health Organization.
As well as heavy vaginal discharges and genital irritation, women with trichomoniasis sometimes deliver underweight or premature babies. The disease also increases the risk of HIV transmission.
Trichomoniasis does not usually produce any symptoms in men, although it can cause pain during urination and discharges from the penis.
The genome-sequencing of the parasite responsible for the disease was carried out by an international consortium coordinated by Jane Carlton of The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR), which is based in the US city of Rockville, Maryland.
The Italian team was lead by University of Sassari professor, Pier Luigi Fiori.
Carlton said deciphering the genetic code will lead to new therapies as it has highlighted several ways to attack T. vaginalis.
keyboard shortcuts: V vote up article J next comment K previous comment