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  • Reply to: Milk, the forgotten antimalarial   4 days 4 hours ago

    Zinc is an essential element with strong bactericidal properties and very efficient against diarrhoea and other diseases. UNICEF estimates that a formula-fed child living in unhygienic conditions is between 6 and 25 times more likely to die of diarrhea and four times more likely to die of pneumonia than a breastfed child (Wikipedia, 2007). Zinc stimulates the immune system and increases CD4 (E Mocchegiani et al., J of Nutrition, 2000, 1424-1430). Most medical plants like Artemisia are rich in zinc.

    The zinc content of milk varies with species and stage of lactation, and it is much higher in colostrum. This is probably contributing to the immunity of newborns against malaria.

    Variations in zinc absorption from different milks and formulas employed in infant feeding are of serious concern (K Hambidge et al., Trace elements in human and animal nutrition , 1986, Academic Press). There is considerable evidence to suggest that the bioavailability from human milk is especially favorable. The superior bioavailabity of zinc from human milk has been confirmed with radioactive zinc studies in adults in whom absorption with mature human milk averaged 57% compared with 32% for cow’s milk. Hence, zinc plasma concentrations of infants fed with cow’s milk-based infant formula was significantly lower. Zinc absorption from soy-based infant formulas is especially poor. The poor absorption of zinc from soy formulas has been found to be attributable to the phytate present in these formulas.

  • Reply to: Scandal at BioMed Central: 43 papers retracted   4 days 8 hours ago

    I don't normally respond to anonymous comments; however, this one is so surprising that I shall make an exception to it.

    No P&V editor who publishes in the journal, has access to the process of handling their MSS, which is done by one of the other journal editors, usually the Editor-in-Chief.

    This is common practice in other journals with which I have been involved.

    'Critically reviewed the manuscript' means before submission.

    I shall not contribute further to this conversation so long as the correspondent remains anonymous.

  • Reply to: Scandal at BioMed Central: 43 papers retracted   4 days 11 hours ago

    Two of the Associate Editors of P&V regularly publish in P&V. Doesn't it seem awkward that one of the associate editors, in 2014, published 10 of his papers in P&V - the same journal in which he holds the position of as associate editor?
    It was appalling to see authors contributions of the Editor, such as - "critically reviewed the manuscript" (Parasites & Vectors 2015, 8:89 doi:10.1186/s13071-015-0699-3.)
    Isn't it an example of the conflict of interests for the Editor? Especially in the times in which H-index and scientific productivity (measured by the number of published papers) become the Gods of the funding bodies?
    Technically it is allowed to be one of the authors and one the editors of the journal at the same time however, very elegant it is not. Ethically clear neither.

  • Reply to: Comment for Malaria Action Plan GMAP2   1 week 10 hours ago

    Thank you Clive and your colleagues at Johns Hopklins for the thoughtful and comprehensive review of our situation regarding the disorganization in our attack on malaria. (Sorry if this duplicates my earlier comments)

    You say we can only have one General in a war. Alexander the Great assigned different Generals to each of his theaters of operation, so maybe we should say we should only have one General for Africa.

    And despite your loyalty and admiration for WHO and their GMAP and RBM, I think you will agree that we might look for a more effective General for the Africa Campaign. WHO (and the UN) are failing organizations. They lack leadership but more importantly they lack universal support, having suffered drastic budget cuts since the conservative Republic Revolution in the US cut our national contributions, in the vain hope of forcing the UN to reform. It hasn't worked. Their mishandling of the Ebola outbreaks in West Africa is solid proof of that, I am afraid.

    Worse yet, to make up for their lack of member support, WHO has sold out to commercial interests who make "voluntary contributions" and thus get influence. Thus WHO has lost their independence, broad expertise and comprehensive approaches which were so evident in the early years when we worked with them. Now all their solutions involve drugs and vaccines, neglecting environmental, social, educational and biological approaches which are of no interest to drug companies.

    On the other hand, the new US Malaria Initiative is doing okay in Africa, with solid funding from the US Congress and good administration. They are operating in 19 African countries, and giving field experience in operations and control to at least one American and one African malariologist in each country. So maybe PMI should take over from WHO in the Africa campaign. They have more likelihood of having an impact, and of persisting.

    Perhaps WHO could do the impact evaluation, an epidemiological function which is simpler than organizing effective interventions. This is doubly needed since the PMI system of evaluation is seriously flawed, despite its direction from CDC Atlanta. WHO could also support training of local epidemiologists and malariologists to eventually take over direction of their own national campaigns. I know that is your fond dream.

    The major fault I find with PMI is their narrowly-based strategy. They urgently need to add the more comprehensive and durable elements of attacking larvae, screening houses, developing community education and programs for community drainage, and large-scale water management. Once they add these to the current medical strategy, they might make real progress. Not eradication, but suppression which the average African government can afford.

    Thank you for keeping us thinking about a better way to suppress this disease, Clive. We all need to think about it.


  • Reply to: LLIN, new products and the impact of/ on insecticide resistance   1 week 14 hours ago

    Research by Hilary Ranson and colleagues suggests that, particularly in populations of An. gambiae in West Africa exhibiting very high resistance to pyrethroids, there is another mechanism of resistance involving change in cuticular proteins. At present, this mechanism and the role that it plays have not been fully elucidated but it could potetnially be of great importance, not only through its role in pyrethroid resistance but also because it may have the potential of offering cross-resistance to other classes of chemistry.