Human African Trypanosomiasis (HAT), caused by Trypanosoma brucei, T. brucei, disproportionately affects inhabitants of Sub Saharan Africa. T. brucei gambiense and T. brucei rhodesiense are the only strains that produce illness in humans. The purpose of this project is to determine if T. brucei Superoxide Dismutases, TbSODs, can be used as a biomarker for positive diagnosis of HAT. The hypothesis to be tested is if a rat is infected with T. brucei, then it will have traces of tbSOD in its bloodstream because as the rat’s immune system fights T. brucei infection some parasitic cells will lyse excreting many internal proteins including SOD into the bloodstream. Our methodology will consist of developing a modified version of the Villagran et al 2005 protocol whereby a series of blood tests will be performed on infected rats. If the blood tests positive for TbSOD then it is assumed that they have a strain of T. brucei. Finally, after confirming the presence of TbSOD, we will use ELISA to establish a correlation between TbSOD’s level and the degree of progression of the infection.


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