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An exercise in collective thinking

March 1, 2012 - 14:06 -- Ricardo Ataide

In recent years, in Brazil and in South-East Asia at least, there have been reported decreases of P. falciparum cases that have not been coupled to a similar decrease of P. vivax. This has led researchers to focus more and more on P. vivax and it has also led to the ‘sudden’ realization that we know very little about it. Although numerous studies have looked at P. falciparum interactions with a myriad of other pathogens, virtually nothing is known in the case of P. vivax. Curiously, very little is also known between the interactions of both species with each other. I have a couple of questions that I would like to pose to our community:

1- Would the virtual disappearance of P. falciparum increase/decrease the prevalence and/or severity of P. vivax infections?

2- Is there any risk of increased P. malariae, P. ovale or P. knowlesi in case both P. vivax and P. falciparum are significantly reduced? And if so, should we aim to understand these parasites a bit better?

Some of the points are addressed in the literature, but I would like to know your opinions on them.