Vector-borne diseases, especially those transmitted by mosquitoes, have severe impacts on public health and economy. West Nile virus (WNV) and avian malaria parasites of the genus Plasmodium, are mosquito-borne pathogens that may produce severe disease and illness in humans and birds, respectively, and circulate in an endemic form in southern Europe.
Artemisinin resistance (delayed P. falciparum clearance following artemisinin-based combination therapy), is widespread across Southeast Asia but to date has not been reported in Africa. Here we genotyped the P. falciparum K13 (Pfkelch13) propeller domain, mutations in which can mediate artemisinin resistance, in pretreatment samples collected from recent dihydroarteminisin-piperaquine and artemether-lumefantrine efficacy trials in Rwanda.
Plasmodium parasites experience significant bottlenecks as they transit through the mosquito and are transmitted to their mammalian host. Oocyst prevalence on mosquito midguts and sporozoite prevalence in salivary glands are nevertheless commonly used to confirm successful malaria transmission, assuming that these are reliable indicators of the mosquito's capacity to give rise to secondary infections.
As global attention and funds continue to shift towards addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, the incidence rate of other life-threatening diseases like malaria could begin to surge if left to do so.
A mass drug administration trial was carried out in Southern Province, Zambia, between 2014 and 2016, in conjunction with a standard of care package that included improved surveillance, increased access to malaria case management, and sustained high levels of vector control coverage. This was preceded by mass test and treatment in the same area from 2011 to 2013. Concordant decreases in malaria prevalence in Southern Province and deaths attributed to malaria in Zambia over this time suggest that these strategies successfully reduced the malaria burden.
In recent times, Plasmodium vivax (P. vivax) has become a serious threat to public health due to its ability to cause severe infection with fatal outcomes. Its unique biology makes it resilient to control measures that are otherwise effective against P. falciparum. A deeper understanding of P. vivax biology and pathogenesis is, therefore, essential for developing the right control strategies.
Antibodies can be produced as polyclonal (pAb) or monoclonal (mAb) liquid formulations with limited shelf-life. For pAbs, unlike mAbs, only little is known about excipients and lyophilization affecting antibody stability upon reconstitution. We used a model pAb directed against Plasmodium falciparum (Pf) pyridoxal 5′-phosphate synthase 2 (Pdx2) to systemically study effects of bulking agents (amino acids, phosphate buffers, salt solutions), sugar(alcohols), surfactants and protein additions (bovine serum albumin, BSA) in liquid pAb formulations (isolated or in combinations) on the activity to detect the antigen in Pf extracts by Western blots.
After many decades of research, an effective vaccine for malaria is still not available. Most research efforts have focused on identifying a key target antigen and then using powerful adjuvants to generate specific antibodies that can block parasites from entering host cells (hepatocytes, red blood cells). However, the inability to generate sufficiently potent antibody responses has led to significant disappointment with current vaccine programs.
The development of a blood-stage malaria vaccine has largely focused on the subunit approach. However, the limited success of this strategy, mainly due to antigenic polymorphism and the failure to maintain potent parasite-specific immune responses, indicates that other approaches must be considered. Whole parasite (WP) vaccines offer many advantages over sub-units; they represent every antigen on the organism, thus limiting the effects of antigenic polymorphism, and similarly they compensate for individual Immune-Response (Ir) gene-regulated non-responsiveness to any particular antigen. From a development perspective, they negate the need to identify and compare the relative efficacies of individual candidate antigens. WP vaccines induce protective immunity that is largely cell-mediated.
Approximately 120 years ago the link between mosquito and the malaria transmission was discovered. However, even today it remains an open question whether the parasite is able to direct the blood-seeking and feeding behavior of its mosquito vector to maximize the probability of transmission. If the parasite has this ability, could it occur only through the alteration of the vertebrate host’s volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and/or the parasite alteration of the behavior of the infected vector in a manner that favors its transmission?