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Will More of the Same Achieve Malaria Elimination? Results from an Integrated Macroeconomic Epidemiological Demographic Model

September 23, 2020 - 09:32 -- Open Access
Author(s): 
Smith RD, Keogh-Brown MR, Chico RM, Bretscher MT, Drakeley C, Jensen HT
Reference: 
Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2020 Sep 21

Historic levels of funding have reduced the global burden of malaria in recent years. Questions remain, however, as to whether scaling up interventions, in parallel with economic growth, has made malaria elimination more likely today than previously. The consequences of "trying but failing" to eliminate malaria are also uncertain. Reduced malaria exposure decreases the acquisition of semi-immunity during childhood, a necessary phase of the immunological transition that occurs on the pathway to malaria elimination.

Ultrasensitive CRISPR-based diagnostic for field-applicable detection of Plasmodium species in symptomatic and asymptomatic malaria

September 23, 2020 - 09:25 -- Open Access
Author(s): 
Lee RA, Puig H, Nguyen PQ, Angenent-Mari NM, Donghia NM, McGee JP, Dvorin JD, Klapperich CM, Pollock NR, Collins JJ
Reference: 
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2020 Sep 21:202010196

Asymptomatic carriers of Plasmodium parasites hamper malaria control and eradication. Achieving malaria eradication requires ultrasensitive diagnostics for low parasite density infections (<100 parasites per microliter blood) that work in resource-limited settings (RLS). Sensitive point-of-care diagnostics are also lacking for nonfalciparum malaria, which is characterized by lower density infections and may require additional therapy for radical cure.

Non-lethal Plasmodium yoelii infection drives complex patterns of Th2-type host immunity and mast cell-dependent bacteremia

September 23, 2020 - 09:09 -- Open Access
Author(s): 
Céspedes N, Donnelly E, Garrison S, Haapanen L, Van De Water J, Luckhart S
Reference: 
Infect Immun. 2020 Sep 21:IAI.00427-20

Malaria strongly predisposes to bacteremia, which is associated with sequestration of parasitized red blood cells and increased gastrointestinal permeability. The mechanisms underlying this disruption are poorly understood. Here we evaluated the expression of factors associated with mast cell activation and malaria-associated bacteremia in a rodent model. C57BL/6J mice were infected with Plasmodium yoelii yoelli 17XNL and blood and tissues were collected over time to assay for circulating levels of bacterial 16S DNA, IgE, mast cell protease 1 (Mcpt-1) and Mcpt-4, Th1 and Th2 cytokines as well as patterns of ileal mastocytosis and intestinal permeability.

From Circulation to Cultivation: Plasmodium In Vivo versus In Vitro

September 23, 2020 - 09:06 -- Open Access
Author(s): 
Brown AC, Guler JL
Reference: 
Trends Parasitol. 2020 Sep 18:S1471-4922(20)30224-5

Research on Plasmodium parasites has driven breakthroughs in reducing malaria morbidity and mortality. Experimental analysis of in vivo/ex vivo versus in vitro samples serve unique roles in Plasmodium research. However, these distinctly different environments lead to discordant biology between parasites in host circulation and those under laboratory cultivation.

Modelling and mapping the intra-urban spatial distribution of Plasmodium falciparum parasite rate using very-high-resolution satellite derived indicators

September 23, 2020 - 09:04 -- Open Access
Author(s): 
Georganos S, Brousse O, Lennert M, et al.
Reference: 
Int J Health Geogr. 2020 Sep 21;19(1):38

The rapid and often uncontrolled rural–urban migration in Sub-Saharan Africa is transforming urban landscapes expected to provide shelter for more than 50% of Africa’s population by 2030. Consequently, the burden of malaria is increasingly affecting the urban population, while socio-economic inequalities within the urban settings are intensified. Few studies, relying mostly on moderate to high resolution datasets and standard predictive variables such as building and vegetation density, have tackled the topic of modeling intra-urban malaria at the city extent. In this research, we investigate the contribution of very-high-resolution satellite-derived land-use, land-cover and population information for modeling the spatial distribution of urban malaria prevalence across large spatial extents. As case studies, we apply our methods to two Sub-Saharan African cities, Kampala and Dar es Salaam.

Natural Products: A Potential Source of Malaria Transmission Blocking Drugs

September 23, 2020 - 09:00 -- Open Access
Author(s): 
Moyo P, Mugumbate G, Eloff JN, Louw AI, Maharaj VJ, Birkholtz LM
Reference: 
Pharmaceuticals (Basel). 2020 Sep 17;13(9):E251

The ability to block human-to-mosquito and mosquito-to-human transmission of Plasmodium parasites is fundamental to accomplish the ambitious goal of malaria elimination. The WHO currently recommends only primaquine as a transmission-blocking drug but its use is severely restricted by toxicity in some populations. New, safe and clinically effective transmission-blocking drugs therefore need to be discovered.

Impact of Three-Year Intermittent Preventive Treatment Using Artemisinin-Based Combination Therapies on Malaria Morbidity in Malian Schoolchildren

September 23, 2020 - 08:57 -- Open Access
Author(s): 
Maiga H, Barger B, Djimde AA, et al.
Reference: 
Trop Med Infect Dis. 2020 Sep 17;5(3):E148

Previous studies have shown that a single season of intermittent preventive treatment in schoolchildren (IPTsc) targeting the transmission season has reduced the rates of clinical malaria, all-cause clinic visits, asymptomatic parasitemia, and anemia. Efficacy over the course of multiple years of IPTsc has been scantly investigated.

A Plasmodium cysteine protease required for efficient transition from the liver infection stage

September 23, 2020 - 08:55 -- Open Access
Author(s): 
Putrianti ED, Schmidt-Christensen A, Heussler V, Matuschewski K, Ingmundson A
Reference: 
PLoS Pathog. 2020 Sep 21;16(9):e1008891

The transitions between developmental stages are critical points in the Plasmodium life cycle. The development of Plasmodium in the livers of their mammalian hosts bridges malaria transmission and the onset of clinical symptoms elicited by red blood cell infection. The egress of Plasmodium parasites from the liver must be a carefully orchestrated process to ensure a successful switch to the blood stage of infection.

Clinical relevance of low-density Plasmodium falciparum parasitemia in untreated febrile children: A cohort study

September 23, 2020 - 08:53 -- Open Access
Author(s): 
Hartley MA, Hofmann N, D'Acremont V, et al.
Reference: 
PLoS Med. 2020 Sep 21;17(9):e1003318

Low-density (LD) Plasmodium infections are missed by standard malaria rapid diagnostic tests (standard mRDT) when the blood antigen concentration is below the detection threshold. The clinical impact of these LD infections is unknown. This study investigates the clinical presentation and outcome of untreated febrile children with LD infections attending primary care facilities in a moderately endemic area of Tanzania.

Promising nanomaterials in the fight against malaria

September 23, 2020 - 08:50 -- Open Access
Author(s): 
Neves Borgheti-Cardoso L, San Anselmo M, Lantero E, Lancelot A, Serrano JL, Hernández-Ainsa S, Fernàndez-Busquets X, Sierra T
Reference: 
J Mater Chem B. 2020 Sep 21

For more than one hundred years, several treatments against malaria have been proposed but they have systematically failed, mainly due to the occurrence of drug resistance in part resulting from the exposure of the parasite to low drug doses. Several factors are behind this problem, including (i) the formidable barrier imposed by the Plasmodium life cycle with intracellular localization of parasites in hepatocytes and red blood cells, (ii) the adverse fluidic conditions encountered in the blood circulation that affect the interaction of molecular components with target cells, and (iii) the unfavorable physicochemical characteristics of most antimalarial drugs, which have an amphiphilic character and can be widely distributed into body tissues after administration and rapidly metabolized in the liver.

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