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Scientific Articles

NOT Open Access | Current methods for the detection of antimalarial drug resistance in Plasmodium parasites infecting humans

January 20, 2021 - 07:07 -- NOT Open Access
Author(s): 
Slater L, Betson M, Ashraf S, Sargison N, Chaudhry U
Reference: 
Acta Trop. 2021 Jan 16:10582

Malaria is the world's deadliest parasitic disease. Great progress has been made in the fight against malaria over the past two decades, but this has recently begun to plateau, in part due to the global development of antimalarial drug resistance. The ability to track drug resistance is necessary to achieve progress in treatment, disease surveillance and epidemiology, which has prompted the development of advanced diagnostic methods. These new methods provide unprecedented access to information that can help to guide public health policies.

Development and Clinical Validation of Iso-IMRS: A Novel Diagnostic Assay for P. falciparum Malaria

January 20, 2021 - 07:05 -- Open Access
Author(s): 
Kolluri N, Kamath S, Lally P, Zanna M, Galagan J, Gitaka J, Kamita M, Cabodi M, Lolabattu SR, Klapperich CM
Reference: 
Anal Chem. 2021 Jan 19

In many countries targeting malaria elimination, persistent malaria infections can have parasite loads significantly below the lower limit of detection (LLOD) of standard diagnostic techniques, making them difficult to identify and treat. The most sensitive diagnostic methods involve amplification and detection of Plasmodium DNA by polymerase chain reaction (PCR), which requires expensive thermal cycling equipment and is difficult to deploy in resource-limited settings. Isothermal DNA amplification assays have been developed, but they require complex primer design, resulting in high nonspecific amplification, and show a decrease in sensitivity than PCR methods. Here, we have used a computational approach to design a novel isothermal amplification assay with a simple primer design to amplify P. falciparum DNA with analytical sensitivity comparable to PCR.

A longitudinal study of plasma BAFF levels in mothers and their infants in Uganda, and correlations with subsets of B cells

January 20, 2021 - 07:03 -- Open Access
Author(s): 
Rönnberg C, Lugaajju A, Nyman A, Hammar U, Bottai M, Lautenbach MJ, Sundling C, Kironde F, Persson KEM
Reference: 
PLoS One. 2021 Jan 19;16(1):e0245431

Malaria is a potentially life-threatening disease with approximately half of the world's population at risk. Young children and pregnant women are hit hardest by the disease. B cells and antibodies are part of an adaptive immune response protecting individuals continuously exposed to the parasite. An infection with Plasmodium falciparum can cause dysregulation of B cell homeostasis, while antibodies are known to be key in controlling symptoms and parasitemia. BAFF is an instrumental cytokine for the development and maintenance of B cells.

Hydroxychloroquine-mediated inhibition of SARS-CoV-2 entry is attenuated by TMPRSS2

January 20, 2021 - 07:00 -- Open Access
Author(s): 
Ou T, Mou H, Zhang L, Ojha A, Choe H, Farzan M
Reference: 
PLoS Pathog. 2021 Jan 19;17(1):e1009212

Hydroxychloroquine, used to treat malaria and some autoimmune disorders, potently inhibits viral infection of SARS coronavirus (SARS-CoV-1) and SARS-CoV-2 in cell-culture studies. However, human clinical trials of hydroxychloroquine failed to establish its usefulness as treatment for COVID-19. This compound is known to interfere with endosomal acidification necessary to the proteolytic activity of cathepsins. Following receptor binding and endocytosis, cathepsin L can cleave the SARS-CoV-1 and SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) proteins, thereby activating membrane fusion for cell entry.

Monthly Malaria Prophylaxis Cuts Child Deaths in Sub-Saharan Africa

January 20, 2021 - 06:58 -- Open Access
Author(s): 
Kuehn BM
Reference: 
JAMA. 2021 Jan 19;325(3):213

Treating children in sub-Saharan Africa’s malaria-endemic areas with a monthly preventive drug regimen during the rainy season reduced children’s deaths from the disease by up to 57%, a study found.

NOT Open Access | Blood parasites of bird communities in Sri Lanka and their mosquito vectors

January 20, 2021 - 06:27 -- NOT Open Access
Author(s): 
Chathuranga WGD, Fernando BR, Weereratne TC, Karunaratne SHPP, De Silva WAPP.
Reference: 
Parasitol Res. 2021 Jan 16

Avian blood parasites have been shown to have significant health effects on avifauna worldwide. Sri Lanka, a tropical island rich with resident and migratory birds, has not been properly evaluated for avian blood parasites or their vectors. We investigated the presence of avian haemoparasites in Sri Lankan birds and the potential mosquito vectors of those pathogens. Blood samples were collected from local/migratory birds captured by standard mist nets from Anawilundawa bird sanctuary, Hanthana mountain range, and the University of Peradeniya park. Mosquitoes were collected from Halgolla forest reserve and the forest patches in Kurunegala and Gampola areas in addition to the above mist-netting localities.

Zonal human hepatocytes are differentially permissive to Plasmodium falciparum malaria parasites

January 20, 2021 - 06:25 -- Open Access
Author(s): 
Yang ASP, van Waardenburg YM, van de Vegte-Bolmer M, van Gemert GA, Graumans W, de Wilt JHW, Sauerwein RW
Reference: 
EMBO J. 2021 Jan 18:e106583

Plasmodium falciparum (Pf) is a major cause of human malaria and is transmitted by infected Anopheles mosquitoes. The initial asymptomatic infection is characterized by parasite invasion of hepatocytes, followed by massive replication generating schizonts with blood-infective merozoites. Hepatocytes can be categorized by their zonal location and metabolic functions within a liver lobule. To understand specific host conditions that affect infectivity, we studied Pf parasite liver stage development in relation to the metabolic heterogeneity of fresh human hepatocytes.

In-depth proteomic analysis of Plasmodium berghei sporozoites using trapped ion mobility spectrometry with parallel accumulation-serial fragmentation

January 20, 2021 - 06:20 -- Open Access
Author(s): 
Hamada S, Pionneau C, Parizot C, Silvie O, Chardonnet S, Marinach C
Reference: 
Proteomics. 2021 Jan 16:e2000305

Sporozoites of the malaria parasite Plasmodium are transmitted by mosquitoes and infect the liver for an initial and obligatory round of replication, before exponential multiplication in the blood and onset of the disease. Sporozoites and liver stages provide attractive targets for malaria vaccines and prophylactic drugs. In this context, defining the parasite proteome is important to explore the parasite biology and to identify potential targets for antimalarial strategies. Previous studies have determined the total proteome of sporozoites from the two main human malaria parasites, P. falciparum and P. vivax, as well as P. yoelii, which infects rodents.

NOT Open Access | In vitro evaluation and molecular dynamics, DFT guided investigation of antimalarial activity of ethnomedicinally used Coptis teeta Wall

January 20, 2021 - 06:16 -- NOT Open Access
Author(s): 
Goswami AK, Sharma HK, Gogoi N, Kashyap A, Gogoi BJ
Reference: 
Comb Chem High Throughput Screen. 2021 Jan 17

Malaria is caused by different species of Plasmodium; among which P. falciparum is the most severe. Coptis teeta is an ethnomedicinal plant of enormous importance for tribes of north east India.

Identification of a neutralizing epitope within minor repeat region of Plasmodium falciparum CS protein

January 20, 2021 - 06:14 -- Open Access
Author(s): 
Calvo-Calle JM, Mitchell R, Altszuler R, Othoro C, Nardin E
Reference: 
NPJ Vaccines. 2021 Jan 18;6(1):10

Malaria remains a major cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide with 219 million infections and 435,000 deaths predominantly in Africa. The infective Plasmodium sporozoite is the target of a potent humoral immune response that can protect murine, simian and human hosts against challenge by malaria-infected mosquitoes. Early murine studies demonstrated that sporozoites or subunit vaccines based on the sporozoite major surface antigen, the circumsporozoite (CS) protein, elicit antibodies that primarily target the central repeat region of the CS protein.

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