Inter-relationships among mosquito vectors, Plasmodium parasites, human ecology, and biotic and abiotic factors, drive malaria risk. Specifically, rural landscapes shaped by human activities have a great potential to increase the abundance of malaria vectors, putting many vulnerable people at risk. Understanding at which point the abundance of vectors increases in the landscape can help to design policies and interventions for effective and sustainable control. Using a dataset of adult female mosquitoes collected at 79 sites in malaria endemic areas in the Brazilian Amazon, this study aimed to (1) verify the association among forest cover percentage (PLAND), forest edge density (ED), and variation in mosquito diversity; and to (2) test the hypothesis of an association between landscape structure (i.e., PLAND and ED) and Nyssorhynchus darlingi (Root) dominance.
Gene drives are selfish genetic elements that can be re-designed to invade a population and they hold tremendous potential for the control of mosquitoes that transmit disease. Much progress has been made recently in demonstrating proof of principle for gene drives able to suppress populations of malarial mosquitoes, or to make them refractory to the Plasmodium parasites they transmit.
Much attention has been directed toward a recent slowing of progress in malaria control worldwide, with particular emphasis on growing evidence which suggests that the twin pillars of malaria reduction – chemotherapy and anti-mosquito measures – are both less effective than previously. This special issue of Virulence gathers papers with a different perspective – understanding the response of the mammalian host to infection with the Plasmodium parasite.
Malarial disease caused by Plasmodium parasites challenges the mammalian immune system with a delicate balancing act. Robust inflammatory responses are required to control parasite replication within red blood cells, which if unchecked, can lead to severe anemia and fatality. However, the same inflammatory response that controls parasite replication is also associated with immunopathology and severe disease, as is exemplified by cerebral malaria.
Malaria is a prominent vector-borne illness caused by Plasmodium parasites.
Plasmodium parasites and related apicomplexans contain an essential "complex plastid" organelle of secondary endosymbiotic origin, the apicoplast. Biogenesis of this complex plastid poses a unique challenge requiring evolution of new cellular machinery. We previously conducted a mutagenesis screen for essential apicoplast biogenesis genes to discover organellar pathways with evolutionary and biomedical significance.
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.
Malaria is a life-threatening disease, caused by Apicomplexan parasites of the Plasmodium genus. The Anopheles mosquito is necessary for the sexual replication of these parasites and for their transmission to vertebrate hosts, including humans. Imaging of the parasite within the insect vector has been attempted using multiple microscopy methods, most of which are hampered by the presence of the light scattering opaque cuticle of the mosquito.
The Asia–Pacific region faces formidable challenges in achieving malaria elimination by the proposed target in 2030. Molecular surveillance of Plasmodium parasites can provide important information on malaria transmission and adaptation, which can inform national malaria control programmes (NMCPs) in decision-making processes. In November 2019 a parasite genotyping workshop was held in Jakarta, Indonesia, to review molecular approaches for parasite surveillance and explore ways in which these tools can be integrated into public health systems and inform policy.
Malaria is a life-threatening disease and one of the main causes of morbidity and mortality in the human population. The disease also results in a major socio-economic burden. The rapid spread of malaria epidemics in developing countries is exacerbated by the rise in drug-resistant parasites and insecticide-resistant mosquitoes. At present, malaria research is focused mainly on the development of drugs with increased therapeutic effects against Plasmodium parasites.