The global COVID-19 pandemic has been affecting the maintenance of various disease control programmes, including malaria. In some malaria-endemic countries, funding and personnel reallocations were executed from malaria control programmes to support COVID-19 response efforts, resulting mainly in interruptions of disease control activities and reduced capabilities of health system.
The emergence of multidrug resistant Plasmodium falciparum malaria in Southeast Asia has accelerated regional malaria elimination efforts. Most malaria in this and other low transmission settings exists in asymptomatic individuals, which conventional diagnostic tests lack the sensitivity to detect. This has led to the development of new ultrasensitive diagnostics that are capable of detecting these low parasitemic infections.
Resistance to artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) in the Plasmodium falciparum parasite is threatening to reverse recent gains in reducing global deaths from malaria. Whilst resistance manifests as delayed parasite clearance in patients the phenotype can only spread geographically via the sexual stages and mosquito transmission. In addition to their asexual killing properties, artemisinin and its derivatives sterilise sexual male gametocytes.
Due to resistance to chloroquine and sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine, treatment for uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria switched to artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) in 2006 in Senegal. Several mutations in the gene coding the kelch13 helix (pfk13-propeller) were identified to be associated with in vitro and in vivo artemisinin resistance in Southeast Asia.
In “Concomitant bacteremia in adults with severe falciparum malaria” in this issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases, 9 of 845 Southeast Asian adults with severe malaria (1%) had bacteremia upon admission, but 4 of those 9 patients (44%) died compared with 108 of 836 (13%) nonbacteremic patients.
Resistance to antimalarial drugs has spread rapidly over the past few decades. The WHO recommends artemisinin-based combination therapies for the treatment of uncomplicated malaria, but unfortunately these approaches are losing their efficacy in large areas of Southeast Asia. In 2016, artemisinin resistance was confirmed in 5 countries of the Greater Mekong subregion. We focused our study on Syk inhibitors as antimalarial drugs.
Vector control, the most efficient tool to reduce mosquito-borne disease transmission, has been compromised by the rise of insecticide resistance. Recent studies suggest the potential of mosquito-associated microbiota as a source for new biocontrol agents or new insecticidal chemotypes. In this study, we identified a strain of Serratia marcescens that has larvicidal activity against Anopheles dirus, an important malaria vector in Southeast Asia.
Plasmodium vivax has become the predominant malaria parasite and a major challenge for malaria elimination in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS). Yet, our knowledge about the evolution of P. vivax populations in the GMS is fragmental. We performed whole genome sequencing on 23 P. vivax samples from the China-Myanmar border (CMB) and used 21 high-coverage samples to compare to over 200 samples from the rest of the GMS.
A prophylactic antimalarial drug that is both effective for protection and improves compliance is in high demand.
It has long been clear that the “monkey-malaria” species, Plasmodium knowlesi, is capable of infecting humans. Its name comes from Robert Knowles, the British parasitologist who first demonstrated experimental monkey–human transmission and pioneered its use as “malaria therapy” for syphilis and leprosy from as early as 1932 .