While sub-microscopic malarial infections are frequent and potentially deleterious during pregnancy, routine molecular detection is still not feasible. This study aimed to assess the performance of a Histidine Rich Protein 2 (HRP2)-based ultrasensitive rapid diagnostic test (uRDT, Alere Malaria Ag Pf) for the detection of infections of low parasite density in pregnant women.
The intraerythrocytic development cycle (IDC) of the rodent malaria Plasmodium chabaudi is coordinated with host circadian rhythms. When this coordination is disrupted, parasites suffer a 50% reduction in both asexual stages and sexual stage gametocytes over the acute phase of infection. Reduced gametocyte density may not simply follow from a loss of asexuals because investment into gametocytes (“conversion rate”) is a plastic trait; furthermore, the densities of both asexuals and gametocytes are highly dynamic during infection. Hence, the reasons for the reduction of gametocytes in infections that are out-of-synch with host circadian rhythms remain unclear. Here, two explanations are tested: first, whether out-of-synch parasites reduce their conversion rate to prioritize asexual replication via reproductive restraint; second, whether out-of-synch gametocytes experience elevated clearance by the host’s circadian immune responses.
Trials to assess the efficacy of the radical cure of Plasmodium vivax malaria with 8-aminoquinolines require that most post-treatment relapses are identified, but there is no consensus on the optimal duration of follow-up in either symptomatic or asymptomatic vivax malaria. The efficacy of a 14-day course of primaquine on the cumulative incidence of recurrent asymptomatic P. vivax infections detected by ultrasensitive quantitative PCR (uPCR) as a primary endpoint was assessed.
Adding 8-aminoquinoline to the treatment of falciparum, in addition to vivax malaria, in locations where infections with both species are prevalent could prevent vivax reactivation. The potential risk of haemolysis under a universal radical cure policy using 8-aminoquinoline needs to be weighed against the benefit of preventing repeated vivax episodes. Estimating the frequency of sequential Plasmodium vivax infections following either falciparum or vivax malaria episodes is needed for such an assessment.
Asymptomatic malaria parasites are significant sources of infections for onward malaria transmission. Conventional tools for malaria diagnosis such as microscopy and rapid diagnostic test kits (RDT) have relatively low sensitivity, hence the need for alternative tools for active screening of such low-density infections.
Malaria remains a public health issue, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa with special features of seriousness in young children and pregnant women. Adolescents and adults are reported to have acquired a semi-immune status and, therefore, present with low parasitaemia. Children are understood to present with a much higher parasitaemia and severe malaria. It is a concern that effective malaria control programmes targeting young children may lead to a delay in the acquisition of acquired immunity and, therefore, causing a shift in the epidemiology of malaria. Prevalence and parasitaemia were explored in adolescents and adults with Plasmodium falciparum infections compared to young children in the area of Lambaréné, Gabon as an indicator for semi-immunity.