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Plasmodium vivax Recurrences

June 9, 2017 - 00:16 -- Miles Markus

A new blood-stage parasite question has arisen. Are erythrocytic forms in bone marrow/spleen part of the hidden Plasmodium vivax reservoir? Do they cause or contribute to renewed or increased peripheral parasitaemia? (Link to the article on the subject [click here]).


Submitted by Miles Markus on

This is the 2017 publication (see link provided above) in which the suggestion was initially made. Results of new research carried out at (mainly but not only) the University of Glasgow and Harvard University now further support the hypothesis, i.e. what was pointed out previously. Namely and specifically, that parasites in bone marrow or the spleen might be a source(s) of recurring vivax malaria (in addition to hypnozoites). I am drawing attention to this matter, raised in the 2017 paper for the first time ever at length (click on link in the blog), primarily because it is of fundamental practical significance in the field of malariology.

I still think that hypnozoites give rise to recurrent vivax malaria, as I thought when introducing the term “hypnozoite” in the late 1970s and predicting the existence of this stage in the plasmodial life cycle. However, I currently believe (since 2010/2011) that as far as extra-vascular (non-circulating) parasites are concerned, vivax malarial recurrences can also have non-hypnozoite forms as their origin. It would be very surprising to find that this is not the case. Up until recently, the idea seems to have been regarded with outright disbelief or scepticism by absolutely everybody (other than me) in the malarial world. But the situation has changed.