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Column: If they are lazy, are we stupid?

February 16, 2014 - 21:15 -- Bart G.J. Knols
The following is an actual quote from an investigator/professor (who shall remain anonymous) working in a malaria-endemic region whilst referring to the local riverine population, in a relaxed while-drinking-a-beer environment: “They could have less malaria, but they’re just too lazy to build proper houses”.
 
I don’t know about you, but for me that was the spark for a 30 minute argument that ruined the relaxed while-drinking-a-beer environment of that afternoon! The thing is, I find it difficult when I have to sit and listen to educated men and women from a variety of backgrounds and in a position to actually have their opinions on malaria heard (WHO, big regional Hospitals or small local district health centers, professors and researchers at universities or NGO workers) being asked the question of why malaria hasn’t been eliminated so far and hear that, in some way, it is the fault of individuals living in malaria endemic areas. Usually the arguments for that go somewhat like: they don’t clean their gutters or other possible mosquito breeding grounds; they don’t close the gaps between the wooden boards of their houses or between the roof and the walls, they don’t sleep under bednets, they insist in staying outdoors after dark, they don’t use insect repellent or have fans in their houses, etc, etc… I’m sure you’ve heard it all before, if you haven’t thought it yourself...

Tea against ACT: David against Goliath

February 15, 2014 - 10:38 -- Irene Teis

This PhD thesis of A Sanner, Université de Nancy 1, clearly describes why Artemisia annua tea has no chance against the business of ACT pills and why WHO issued a veto on clinical trials with the herb. Full text on http://docnum.univ-lorraine.fr/public/SCDMED_T_2008_SANNER_ALEXANDRE.pdf

Imperfect tools applied to control malaria may still lead to remarkable results

February 9, 2014 - 20:31 -- MESA Alliance

'The science of malaria eradication' Keystone Symposia

Wednesday  Feb 5th

The third day at the Keystone Symposium on The Science of Malaria Eradication was an action packed day of exciting discussions on vaccines and tools to measure transmission, with an interlude to the Mayan ruins of Mayapan, where the malaria community rhetorically climbed the 'Mayan pyramids' of eradication.

Column: Sleepless in the liver: would revisiting the past give any directions on how to deal with hypnozoite carriers of P. vivax?

February 6, 2014 - 20:51 -- Bart G.J. Knols
Many of the recent strategies to improve malaria control have been focusing on improving the detection of very low parasitaemias to identify asymptomatic carriers of Plasmodium sp. to reduce the infective reservoir. Although these strategies are extremely rational and sensible to tackle most of malaria infections, they will probably not be sufficient to achieve elimination for parasites that present relapses, as is the case for Plasmodium vivax. The need to look for new and sophisticated methods has been exhaustively stressed by researchers, however, at this time, revisiting a simple and efficient strategy successfully employed in the past could prove to be a path to be followed...

If malaria elimination is a stable state, how do we get there?

February 6, 2014 - 17:52 -- MESA Alliance

'The science of malaria eradication' Keystone Symposia

Tuesday Feb 4th

The Keystone Symposium on The Science of Malaria Eradication entered its second day of activities with a focus on drug based strategies and health systems research in the elimination context. The evidence for use of single dose primaquine to clear P. falciparum infections, the new K-13 artemisinin resistance marker, and how clearing asymptomatic infections in children can improve cognition and reduce transmission all featured in the animated discussions.

Uric acid: emerging as key factor in malaria

February 6, 2014 - 17:09 -- Pierre Lutgen

Plasmodium falciparum-infected erythrocytes contain large quantities of uric acid precipitates. These precipitates are present in the parasitophorous vacuole, in the cytoplasm, not in the food vacuole of the parasite. Uric acid precipitates are highly inflammatory molecules that are considered a danger signal for innate immunity and are the causative agent of gout. Hypoxanthine is a metabolic precursor of uric acid and is essential for Plasmodium growth. It is transformed by the xanthine oxidase into xanthine the true precursor of uric acid.

Malaria in Ethiopia, Jerusalem and Zanzibar

February 5, 2014 - 21:17 -- William Jobin

Malaria in Ethiopia, Jerusalem and Zanzibar

Eighth African Malaria Dialogue – Boston University USA 31 January 2014

Our informal African Malaria Dialogues started in the summer of 2012, meeting quarterly on the East Coast of the US in order to encourage interdisciplinary field research on African malaria. The dialogues are informally organized and participants cover their own costs for travel and meals. All are invited, and our next Dialogue will be in the Spring.

Please let me know if you wish to come. I will put you on our list.

'It always seems impossible until it is done' – Nelson Mandela

February 5, 2014 - 20:51 -- MESA Alliance

'The science of malaria eradication' Keystone Symposia
Monday Feb 3rd

From bioethical considerations, to mapping trends in malaria transmission with basic biology. From inspiring lessons in other eradication campaigns, to regulatory issues around tools which benefit populations, to novel genetic technologies which modify mosquitoes and the parasite life cycle. The first day of the Keystone Symposium on the science of malaria eradication set the scene for sharing and debating new discoveries and innovative approaches to malaria eradication.

Column: Nobody asked me, but …

February 4, 2014 - 19:52 -- Bart G.J. Knols
Malaria control is much more complicated and complex than can be highlighted within the confines of a few lines of text, but I need to share with you some of the things that make me wonder and keep me up some nights. I do not consider myself an alarmist, but as a public health entomologist there are a few things that concern me when I think of malaria control.
 

The World Malaria Report for 2013 paints an optimistic picture when it reports a fifty percent reduction in global mortality due malaria since 2000. However, the same report states that in 2012, “in 41 of the 103 countries reporting, which account for 80% of estimated cases, it is not possible to reliably assess malaria trends using the data submitted to WHO” as “information systems are weakest, and the challenges for strengthening systems are greatest, where the malaria burden is greatest.”...

Kick-off to the 'The science of malaria eradication' Keystone Symposia

February 3, 2014 - 21:05 -- MESA Alliance

Sunday Feb 2nd


'The science of malaria eradication' Keystone Symposia celebrated its first day of activities in Merida, Yucatan, with a workshop devoted to students and researchers from endemic countries that received a travel award to attend the meeting.  This workshop offered the opportunity to interact with a group of international experts that discussed the role of a dynamic biomedical research agenda, including aspects relating to therapeutics, vector biology and vaccines to interrupt transmission.

Column: For sustainable control of malaria in Sudan: No more broken water pipes and water containers!

January 29, 2014 - 17:10 -- Bart G.J. Knols
Do you know what LBWPs means?! 
It is a common terminology between entomologists, health officers and other people working in mosquito control in Sudan and it means “Leakages of Broken Water Pipes”. I live in Omdurman City in Sudan and broken pipes were a common fact of life as I grew up. For writing this column, I decided to count the number of broken water pipes along the 20 km distance I commute to work; there were two. One was a large pipe alongside the main road and the other was inside my neighbourhood. This scenario reaches its peak in the winter, nowadays probably as a result of a decrease in demand for tap water and high water pressure inside pipes. Most visibly, broken pipes can represent breeding sites for mosquitoes...

Fake malaria drugs kill

January 29, 2014 - 14:26 -- Ingeborg van Schayk

Stop the trade in fake malaria drugs and sign the petition at www.fakedrugskill.org

1/3 of all malaria drugs sold in Africa are fake. Criminals in China and India make huge profits from the illegal production of fake and counterfeit malaria drugs.

Watch the short films "Fake drugs kill" and " The story about fake drugs" here.

Submit your next manuscript to MalariaWorld Journal. It's free to read & free to publish

January 29, 2014 - 11:40 -- Ingeborg van Schayk

The MalariaWorld Journal is the first truly Open Access, peer reviewed, journal with an exclusive focus on malaria – where you don’t pay to publish and you don’t pay to read.

African Malaria Dialogue meets at Boston University on Friday morning 31 January 2014

January 26, 2014 - 00:35 -- William Jobin

You are invited to join us for an informal dialogue on African Malaria at the Pardee Center of Boston University, 67 Bay State Road near the Kenmore Square Station of the MBTA, We will begin with coffee and tea at 9:30 am. continuing until 11:30 when a simple box lunch will be provided.

Our host this time is Prof. Jim McCann of the African History Dept of BU. Jim has recently returned from Ethiopia where he and colleagues have been conducting field research on agriculture and malaria. Jim is also writing a book on malaria in Ethiopia which will soon be published.

Malaria Policy Advisory Committee to the WHO: conclusions and recommendations of the September 2013 meeting

January 24, 2014 - 17:07 -- MESA Alliance
Tags: 

The Malaria Policy Advisory Committee to the World Health Organization held its fourth meeting in Geneva, Switzerland from 11 to 13 September, 2013. This article provides a summary of the discussions, conclusions and recommendations from that meeting. MESA is partnering with Global Malaria Programme to disseminate the report.

Column: looking for good news on the road to zero malaria deaths

January 23, 2014 - 20:40 -- Ingeborg van Schayk
Caminante, no hay camino. Se hace camino al andar. 
Traveller, there is no road. We make the road by walking.
Antonio Machado (1875-1939)
 
By George Jagoe
 
In 2011, RBM revised one of its key objectives for the Global Malaria Action Plan (GMAP):  it called for reducing “global malaria deaths to near zero by end 2015”. Shortly thereafter, Dr. Robert Newman, Director of WHO’s Global Malaria Programme commented:  “Reducing malaria deaths to near-zero is the right goal, a goal that we need to make every conceivable effort to achieve. But, let us be clear, it is also a wildly ambitious goal.” (1)

Background reading Keystone Symposium The Science of Malaria Eradication, February 2-7, 2014 Mexico

January 22, 2014 - 17:06 -- MESA Alliance

Find the background reading for the Keystone Symposium here, for those long hours in the plane!

B. Fenton Hall and Anthony S. Fauci (2009)
The Journal of Infectious Diseases 2009;200:1639–43
 
malERA group: Alonso PL, Brown G, Arevalo-Herrera M, Binka F, Chitnis C, et al. (2011)
PLoS Med 8(1): e1000406
 
Sibao Wang and Marcelo Jacobs-Lorena (2013)
Trends in Biotechnology, March 2013, Vol. 31, No. 3
 
Ashley J. Birkett, Vasee S. Moorthy, Christian Loucq, Chetan E. Chitnis and David C. Kaslow (2013)
Vaccine, Volume 31, Supplement 2, 18 April 2013, Pages B233–B243

New WHO Collaborating Centre in Geospatial Disease Modelling

January 20, 2014 - 14:35 -- Bart G.J. Knols
The University of Oxford has received designation as a World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centre in Geospatial Disease Modelling. Based in the Spatial Ecology and Epidemiology Group (SEEG) in the Department of Zoology, this new designation primarily recognises the contributions of SEEG to supporting the modelling, monitoring and evaluation activities of the WHO Global Malaria Programme.

Palestinians discover local plant with surprisingly strong antimalarial properties.

January 20, 2014 - 13:25 -- Pierre Lutgen

The research team from the Al Quds University has already shown that some plants from Palestine have a strong inhibitory effect on beta-hematin crystallisation. Salvia officinalis (M Akkawi et al., Malaria Journal, 2012, 11-Suppl,P3) and Artemisiasieberi from Palestine ( M Akkawi et al. Brit J Pharmacol Toxicol, accepted 2013). The therapeutic effect of quinine, chloroquine, amodiaquine is precisely based on hemozoin inhibition.

What should we do: Peer review or not?

January 16, 2014 - 13:36 -- Bart G.J. Knols

The science world is undergoing rapid changes, and so does the field of scientific publishing. The Lancet recently featured five articles on the current value and reduction of waste in biomedical research. An article in the Economist from a few months before titled 'How science goes wrong' is another eye-opener. Clearly, much is changing in the science world, and this includes us scientists working on malaria.

Here we are asking for your views regarding an issue we are discussing for the MalariaWorld Journal, entering its 5th volume this year: Should we continue with peer review, yes or no, or should we perhaps make it optional?

The digestive vacuole and malaria resistance ; the weakness of artesunate.

January 9, 2014 - 11:04 -- Pierre Lutgen

The diffusion of antimalarials into infected red blood cells has been studied by several authors. For example, three times more chloroquine accumulates in CQ sensitive strains than in the CQ resistant ones (KJ Saliba et al., Biochem Pharmacol. 1998, Aug 1 ;56, 313-20) Thediffusion of artemisinin into parasitized RBCs was found to be rapid, saturable, temperature dependent, irreversible. In contrast, simple passive diffusion of artemisinin was seen in nonparasitized RBCs.(N Vyas, Antimicro Ag Chemother, Jan 2002, 105-109).

Debate: adults or larvae?

January 7, 2014 - 13:15 -- William Jobin

Why are there two completely opposing views about the value of direct attacks on anopheline mosquito larvae or on adults, for suppressing malaria transmission ?

In recent public and written debates, I have seen diametrically and vehemently opposed views expressed on the value of attacking larvae through eliminating breeding sites, as opposed to the current emphasis on reducing biting by anopheline adults through bednets and indoor spraying.

Audio: Outstanding ASTMH presentations relevant to malaria elimination: 2

December 16, 2013 - 21:55 -- MESA Alliance
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Did you miss unmissable presentations at this year's ASTMH?
Listen here:
 
 
'Establishing Malaria-Free Zones in Zanzibar and Zambia: Progress and Next Steps'.
 
Chairs: Richard Steketee (PATH MACEPA) and Anders Björkman (Karolinska Institute).
 
 
 
 
 
 
MESA will post other great sessions on malaria elimination for you to listen to and download, watch this MalariaWorld page.

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