ResearchPad - malarial-parasites https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[A twenty-eight-year laboratory-based retrospective trend analysis of malaria in Dakar, Senegal]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14736 Health facility-based records offer a rich source of information to understand trends and changes in malaria cases over time. This study is aimed at determining the changes in malaria occurrence over the last 28 years, from 1989 to 2016 in Dakar, Senegal.MethodsLaboratory suspected and confirmed malaria records from 1989 to 2016 were reviewed from the laboratory registers of the Laboratory of Parasitology and Mycology of Aristide Le Dantec Hospital. Interrupted time series (ITS) analysis was used to estimate the changes by comparing malaria cases post-intervention (2006–2016) with that of the pre-intervention (1989–2005) period.ResultsA total of 5,876 laboratory confirmed malaria cases were reported out of 29,852 tested cases, with total slide positivity rate (SPR) of 19.7%. Malaria case counts exhibited a fluctuating trend with major peaks occurring in the years 1995 and 2003 with SPR of 42.3% and 42.5%, respectively. Overall, a remarkable decline in the total number of laboratory confirmed malaria cases was observed over the last 28 years. P. falciparum was almost the only reported species, accounting for 99.98% of cases. The highest SPR was observed in the age group of under five years during the pre-intervention period while this shifted to the age group of 6–15 years old for the subsequent years. Two major malaria peak seasons were observed: one in September during the pre-intervention period and the other in November for the post-intervention period. The ITS analysis showed a dramatic decline of 83.6% in SPR following the scale-up of interventions in 2006.ConclusionA remarkable decline in laboratory confirmed malaria cases in Dakar over 28 years was observed. The period of rapid decline in malaria SPR coincided with the scale-up in interventions beginning in 2006 with the introduction of ACTs, followed by the widespread introduction in 2008 of bed nets treated with insecticides. Robust surveillance data should be maintained in the context of malaria elimination efforts. ]]> <![CDATA[Indoor and outdoor residual spraying of a novel formulation of deltamethrin K-Othrine<sup>®</sup> (Polyzone) for the control of simian malaria in Sabah, Malaysia]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14704 Since 2000, human malaria cases in Malaysia were rapidly reduced with the use of insecticides in Indoor Residual Spray (IRS) and Long-Lasting Insecticide Net (LLIN). Unfortunately, monkey malaria in humans has shown an increase especially in Sabah and Sarawak. The insecticide currently used in IRS is deltamethrin K-Othrine® WG 250 wettable granule, targeting mosquitoes that rest and feed indoor. In Sabah, the primary vector for knowlesi malaria is An. balabacensis a species known to bite outdoor. This study evaluates an alternative method, the Outdoor Residual Spray (ORS) using a novel formulation of deltamethrin K-Othrine® (PolyZone) to examine it suitability to control knowlesi malaria vector in Sabah, compared to the current method. The study was performed at seven villages in Sabah having similar type of houses (wood, bamboo and concrete). Houses were sprayed with deltamethrin K-Othrine® (PolyZone) at two different dosages, 25 mg/m2 and 30 mg/m2 and deltamethrin K-Othrine® WG 250 wettable granule at 25 mg/m2, sprayed indoor and outdoor. Residual activity on different walls was assessed using standard cone bioassay techniques. For larval surveillances, potential breeding sites were surveyed. Larvae were collected and identified, pre and post spraying. Adult survey was done using Human Landing Catch (HLC) performed outdoor and indoor. Detection of malaria parasite in adults was conducted via microscopy and molecular methods. Deltamethrin K-Othrine® (PolyZone) showed higher efficacy when sprayed outdoor. The efficacy was found varied when sprayed on different types of wall surfaces. Deltamethrin K-Othrine® (PolyZone) at 25 mg/m2 was the most effective with regards to ability to high mortality and effective knock down (KD). The vector population was reduced significantly post-spraying and reduction in breeding sites as well. The number of simian malaria infected vector, human and simian malaria transmission were also greatly reduced.

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<![CDATA[Novel malaria antigen <i>Plasmodium yoelii</i> E140 induces antibody-mediated sterile protection in mice against malaria challenge]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14592 Only a small fraction of the antigens expressed by malaria parasites have been evaluated as vaccine candidates. A successful malaria subunit vaccine will likely require multiple antigenic targets to achieve broad protection with high protective efficacy. Here we describe protective efficacy of a novel antigen, Plasmodium yoelii (Py) E140 (PyE140), evaluated against P. yoelii challenge of mice. Vaccines targeting PyE140 reproducibly induced up to 100% sterile protection in both inbred and outbred murine challenge models. Although PyE140 immunization induced high frequency and multifunctional CD8+ T cell responses, as well as CD4+ T cell responses, protection was mediated by PyE140 antibodies acting against blood stage parasites. Protection in mice was long-lasting with up to 100% sterile protection at twelve weeks post-immunization and durable high titer anti-PyE140 antibodies. The E140 antigen is expressed in all Plasmodium species, is highly conserved in both P. falciparum lab-adapted strains and endemic circulating parasites, and is thus a promising lead vaccine candidate for future evaluation against human malaria parasite species.

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<![CDATA[A mathematical model for assessing the effectiveness of controlling relapse in Plasmodium vivax malaria endemic in the Republic of Korea]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Nf3d8dda1-10e2-4286-9776-07d534017a03

Malaria has persisted as an endemic near the Demilitarized Zone in the Republic of Korea since the re-emergence of Plasmodium vivax malaria in 1993. The number of patients affected by malaria has increased recently despite many controls tools, one of the reasons behind which is the relapse of malaria via liver hypnozoites. Tafenoquine, a new drug approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration in 2018, is expected to reduce the rate of relapse of malaria hypnozoites and thereby decrease the prevalence of malaria among the population. In this work, we have developed a new transmission model for Plasmodium vivax that takes into account a more realistic intrinsic distribution from existing literature to quantify the current values of relapse parameters and to evaluate the effectiveness of the anti-relapse therapy. The model is especially suitable for estimating parameters near the Demilitarized Zone in Korea, in which the disease follows a distinguishable seasonality. Results were shown that radical cure could significantly reduce the prevalence level of malaria. However, eradication would still take a long time (over 10 years) even if the high-level treatment were to persist. In addition, considering that the vector’s behavior is manipulated by the malaria parasite, relapse repression through vector control at the current level may result in a negative effect in containing the disease. We conclude that the use of effective drugs should be considered together with the increased level of the vector control to reduce malaria prevalence.

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<![CDATA[Behavior and abundance of Anopheles darlingi in communities living in the Colombian Amazon riverside]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c8acc3ed5eed0c48498f2cc

In the past few years, relative frequencies of malaria parasite species in communities living in the Colombian Amazon riverside have changed, being Plasmodium vivax (61.4%) and Plasmodium malariae (43.8%) the most frequent. Given this epidemiological scenario, it is important to determine the species of anophelines involved in these parasites’ transmission. This study was carried out in June 2016 in two indigenous communities living close to the tributaries of the Amazon River using protected human bait. The results of this study showed a total abundance of 1,085 mosquitos, of which 99.2% corresponded to Anopheles darlingi. Additionally, only two anopheline species were found, showing low diversity in the study areas. Molecular confirmation of some individuals was then followed by evolutionary analysis by using the COI gene. Nested PCR was used for identifying the three Plasmodium species circulating in the study areas. Of the two species collected in this study, 21.0% of the An. darlingi mosquitoes were infected with P. malariae, 21.9% with P. vivax and 10.3% with Plasmodium falciparum. It exhibited exophilic and exophagic behavior in both study areas, having marked differences regarding its abundance in each community (Tipisca first sampling 49.4%, Tipisca second sampling 39.6% and Doce de Octubre 10.9%). Interestingly, An. mattogrossensis infected by P. vivax was found for the first time in Colombia (in 50% of the four females collected). Analysis of An. darlingi COI gene diversity indicated a single population maintaining a high gene flow between the study areas. The An. darlingi behavior pattern found in both communities represents a risk factor for the region’s inhabitants living/working near these sites. This highlights the need for vector control efforts such as the use of personal repellents and insecticides for use on cattle, which must be made available in order to reduce this Anopheline’s abundance.

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<![CDATA[Phosphodiesterase beta is the master regulator of cAMP signalling during malaria parasite invasion]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c99020cd5eed0c484b97558

Cyclic nucleotide signalling is a major regulator of malaria parasite differentiation. Phosphodiesterase (PDE) enzymes are known to control cyclic GMP (cGMP) levels in the parasite, but the mechanisms by which cyclic AMP (cAMP) is regulated remain enigmatic. Here, we demonstrate that Plasmodium falciparum phosphodiesterase β (PDEβ) hydrolyses both cAMP and cGMP and is essential for blood stage viability. Conditional gene disruption causes a profound reduction in invasion of erythrocytes and rapid death of those merozoites that invade. We show that this dual phenotype results from elevated cAMP levels and hyperactivation of the cAMP-dependent protein kinase (PKA). Phosphoproteomic analysis of PDEβ-null parasites reveals a >2-fold increase in phosphorylation at over 200 phosphosites, more than half of which conform to a PKA substrate consensus sequence. We conclude that PDEβ plays a critical role in governing correct temporal activation of PKA required for erythrocyte invasion, whilst suppressing untimely PKA activation during early intra-erythrocytic development.

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<![CDATA[Host-parasite interaction explains variation in the prevalence of avian haemosporidians at the community level]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c897744d5eed0c4847d2876

Parasites are a selective force that shape host community structure and dynamics, but host communities can also influence parasitism. Understanding the dual nature from host-parasite interactions can be facilitated by quantifying the variation in parasite prevalence among host species and then comparing that variation to other ecological factors that are known to also shape host communities. Avian haemosporidian parasites (e.g. Plasmodium and Haemoproteus) are abundant and widespread representing an excellent model for the study of host-parasite interactions. Several geographic and environmental factors have been suggested to determine prevalence of avian haemosporidians in bird communities. However, it remains unknown whether host and parasite traits, represented by phylogenetic distances among species and degree of specialization in host-parasite relationships, can influence infection status. The aims of this study were to analyze factors affecting infection status in a bird community and to test whether the degree of parasite specialization on their hosts is determined by host traits. Our statistical analyses suggest that infection status is mainly determined by the interaction between host species and parasite lineages where tolerance and/or susceptibility to parasites plays an essential role. Additionally, we found that although some of the parasite lineages infected a low number of bird individuals, the species they infected were distantly related and therefore the parasites themselves should not be considered typical host specialists. Infection status was higher for generalist than for specialist parasites in some, but not all, host species. These results suggest that detected prevalence in a species mainly results from the interaction between host immune defences and parasite exploitation strategies wherein the result of an association between particular parasite lineages and particular host species is idiosyncratic.

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<![CDATA[Antibody responses to Plasmodium vivax Duffy binding and Erythrocyte binding proteins predict risk of infection and are associated with protection from clinical Malaria]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c706793d5eed0c4847c7266

Background

The Plasmodium vivax Duffy Binding Protein (PvDBP) is a key target of naturally acquired immunity. However, region II of PvDBP, which contains the receptor-binding site, is highly polymorphic. The natural acquisition of antibodies to different variants of PvDBP region II (PvDBPII), including the AH, O, P and Sal1 alleles, the central region III-V (PvDBPIII-V), and P. vivax Erythrocyte Binding Protein region II (PvEBPII) and their associations with risk of clinical P. vivax malaria are not well understood.

Methodology

Total IgG and IgG subclasses 1, 2, and 3 that recognize four alleles of PvDBPII (AH, O, P, and Sal1), PvDBPIII-V and PvEBPII were measured in samples collected from a cohort of 1 to 3 year old Papua New Guinean (PNG) children living in a highly endemic area of PNG. The levels of binding inhibitory antibodies (BIAbs) to PvDBPII (AH, O, and Sal1) were also tested in a subset of children. The association of presence of IgG with age, cumulative exposure (measured as the product of age and malaria infections during follow-up) and prospective risk of clinical malaria were evaluated.

Results

The increase in antigen-specific total IgG, IgG1, and IgG3 with age and cumulative exposure was only observed for PvDBPII AH and PvEBPII. High levels of total IgG and predominant subclass IgG3 specific for PvDBPII AH were associated with decreased incidence of clinical P. vivax episodes (aIRR = 0.56–0.68, P≤0.001–0.021). High levels of total IgG and IgG1 to PvEBPII correlated strongly with protection against clinical vivax malaria compared with IgGs against all PvDBPII variants (aIRR = 0.38, P<0.001). Antibodies to PvDBPII AH and PvEBPII showed evidence of an additive effect, with a joint protective association of 70%.

Conclusion

Antibodies to the key parasite invasion ligands PvDBPII and PvEBPII are good correlates of protection against P. vivax malaria in PNG. This further strengthens the rationale for inclusion of PvDBPII in a recombinant subunit vaccine for P. vivax malaria and highlights the need for further functional studies to determine the potential of PvEBPII as a component of a subunit vaccine for P. vivax malaria.

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<![CDATA[Algorithms for sequential interpretation of a malaria rapid diagnostic test detecting two different targets of Plasmodium species to improve diagnostic accuracy in a rural setting (Nanoro, Burkina Faso)]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6dc99fd5eed0c484529f2d

Background

Malaria rapid diagnostic tests (RDT) have limitations due to the persistence of histidine-rich protein 2 (HRP2) antigen after treatment and low sensitivity of Plasmodium lactate dehydrogenase (pLDH) based RDTs. To improve the diagnosis of malaria in febrile children, two diagnostic algorithms, based on sequential interpretation of a malaria rapid diagnostic test detecting two different targets of Plasmodium species and followed by expert microscopy, were evaluated.

Methods

Two diagnostic algorithms were evaluated using 407 blood samples collected between April and October 2016 from febrile children and the diagnostic accuracy of both algorithms was determined. Algorithm 1: The result of line T1-HRP2 were read first; if negative, malaria infection was considered to be absent. If positive, confirmation was done with the line T2-pLDH. If T2-pLDH test was negative, the malaria diagnosis was considered as “inconclusive” and microscopy was performed; Algorithm 2: The result of line T2-pLDH were read first; if positive, malaria infection was considered to be present. If negative, confirmation was done with the line T1-HRP2. If T1-HRP2 was positive the malaria diagnosis was considered as “inconclusive” and microscopy was performed. In absence of malaria microscopy, a malaria infection was ruled out in children with an inconclusive diagnostic test result when previous antimalarial treatment was reported.

Results

For single interpretation, the sensitivity of PfHRP2 was 98.4% and the specificity was 74.2%, and for the pLDH test the sensitivity was 89.3% and the specificity was 98.8%. Malaria was accurately diagnosed using both algorithms in 84.5% children. The algorithms with the two-line malaria RDT classified the test results into two groups: conclusive and inconclusive results. The diagnostic accuracy for conclusive results was 98.3% using diagnostic algorithm 1 and 98.6% using algorithm 2. The sensitivity and specificity for the conclusive results were 98.2% and 98.4% for algorithm 1, and 98.6% and 98.4% for algorithm 2, respectively. There were 63 (15.5%) children who had an “inconclusive” result for whom expert microscopy was needed. In children with inconclusive results (PfHRP2+/pLDH- only) previous antimalarial treatment was reported in 16 children with malaria negative microscopy (16/40; 40%) and 1 child with malaria positive microscopy (1/23; 4.3%).

Conclusion

The strategy of sequential interpretation of two-line malaria RDT can improve the diagnosis of malaria. However, some cases will still require confirmative testing with microscopy or additional investigations on previous antimalarial treatment.

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<![CDATA[A mutagenesis screen for essential plastid biogenesis genes in human malaria parasites]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c648d3cd5eed0c484c82311

Endosymbiosis has driven major molecular and cellular innovations. Plasmodium spp. parasites that cause malaria contain an essential, non-photosynthetic plastid—the apicoplast—which originated from a secondary (eukaryote–eukaryote) endosymbiosis. To discover organellar pathways with evolutionary and biomedical significance, we performed a mutagenesis screen for essential genes required for apicoplast biogenesis in Plasmodium falciparum. Apicoplast(−) mutants were isolated using a chemical rescue that permits conditional disruption of the apicoplast and a new fluorescent reporter for organelle loss. Five candidate genes were validated (out of 12 identified), including a triosephosphate isomerase (TIM)-barrel protein that likely derived from a core metabolic enzyme but evolved a new activity. Our results demonstrate, to our knowledge, the first forward genetic screen to assign essential cellular functions to unannotated P. falciparum genes. A putative TIM-barrel enzyme and other newly identified apicoplast biogenesis proteins open opportunities to discover new mechanisms of organelle biogenesis, molecular evolution underlying eukaryotic diversity, and drug targets against multiple parasitic diseases.

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<![CDATA[Growing evidence of Plasmodium vivax across malaria-endemic Africa]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c5ca2d6d5eed0c48441eb93

Effective malaria control strategies require an accurate understanding of the epidemiology of locally transmitted Plasmodium species. Compared to Plasmodium falciparum infection, Plasmodium vivax has a lower asexual parasitaemia, forms dormant liver-stages (hypnozoites), and is more transmissible. Hence, treatment and diagnostic policies aimed exclusively at P. falciparum are far less efficient against endemic P. vivax. Within sub-Saharan Africa, malaria control programmes justly focus on reducing the morbidity and mortality associated with P. falciparum. However, the recent emphasis on malaria elimination and increased accessibility of more sensitive diagnostic tools have revealed greater intricacies in malaria epidemiology across the continent. Since 2010, the number of studies identifying P. vivax endemic to Africa has expanded considerably, with 88 new scientific reports published since a review of evidence in 2015, approximately doubling the available data. There is evidence of P. vivax in all regions of Africa, apparent from infected vectors, clinical cases, serological indicators, parasite prevalence, exported infections, and P. vivax-infected Duffy-negative individuals. Where the prevalence of microscopic parasitaemia is low, a greater proportion of P. vivax infections were observed relative to P. falciparum. This evidence highlights an underlying widespread presence of P. vivax across all malaria-endemic regions of Africa, further complicating the current practical understanding of malaria epidemiology in this region. Thus, ultimate elimination of malaria in Africa will require national malaria control programmes to adopt policy and practice aimed at all human species of malaria.

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<![CDATA[Predicting the direct and indirect impacts of climate change on malaria in coastal Kenya]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c648cdfd5eed0c484c819a9

Background

The transmission of malaria is highly variable and depends on a range of climatic and anthropogenic factors. This study investigates the combined, i.e. direct and indirect, impacts of climate change on the dynamics of malaria through modifications in: (i) the sporogonic cycle of Plasmodium induced by air temperature increase, and (ii) the life cycle of Anopheles vector triggered by changes in natural breeding habitat arising from the altered moisture dynamics resulting from acclimation responses of vegetation under climate change. The study is performed for a rural region in Kilifi county, Kenya.

Methods and findings

We use a stochastic lattice-based malaria (SLIM) model to make predictions of changes in Anopheles vector abundance, the life cycle of Plasmodium parasites, and thus malaria transmission under projected climate change in the study region. SLIM incorporates a nonlinear temperature-dependence of malaria parasite development to estimate the extrinsic incubation period of Plasmodium. It is also linked with a spatially distributed eco-hydrologic modeling framework to capture the impacts of climate change on soil moisture dynamics, which served as a key determinant for the formation and persistence of mosquito larval habitats on the land surface. Malaria incidence data collected from 2008 to 2013 is used for SLIM model validation. Projections of climate change and human population for the region are used to run the models for prediction scenarios.

Under elevated atmospheric CO2 concentration ([CO2]) only, modeled results reveal wetter soil moisture in the root zone due to the suppression of transpiration from vegetation acclimation, which increases the abundance of Anopheles vectors and the risk of malaria. When air temperature increases are also considered along with elevated [CO2], the life cycle of Anopheles vector and the extrinsic incubation period of Plasmodium parasites are shortened nonlinearly. However, the reduction of soil moisture resulting from higher evapotranspiration due to air temperature increase also reduces the larval habitats of the vector. Our findings show the complicated role of vegetation acclimation under elevated [CO2] on malaria dynamics and indicate an indirect but ignored impact of air temperature increase on malaria transmission through reduction in larval habitats and vector density.

Conclusions

Vegetation acclimation triggered by elevated [CO2] under climate change increases the risk of malaria. In addition, air temperature increase under climate change has opposing effects on mosquito larval habitats and the life cycles of both Anopheles vectors and Plasmodium parasites. The indirect impacts of temperature change on soil moisture dynamics are significant and should be weighed together with the direct effects of temperature change on the life cycles of mosquitoes and parasites for future malaria prediction and control.

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<![CDATA[Plasmodium male gametocyte development and transmission are critically regulated by the two putative deadenylases of the CAF1/CCR4/NOT complex]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c5ca300d5eed0c48441efa2

With relatively few known specific transcription factors to control the abundance of specific mRNAs, Plasmodium parasites may rely more on the regulation of transcript stability and turnover to provide sufficient gene regulation. Plasmodium transmission stages impose translational repression on specific transcripts in part to accomplish this. However, few proteins are known to participate in this process, and those that are characterized primarily affect female gametocytes. We have identified and characterized Plasmodium yoelii (Py) CCR4-1, a putative deadenylase, which plays a role in the development and activation of male gametocytes, regulates the abundance of specific mRNAs in gametocytes, and ultimately increases the efficiency of host-to-vector transmission. We find that when pyccr4-1 is deleted or its protein made catalytically inactive, there is a loss in the initial coordination of male gametocyte maturation and a reduction of parasite infectivity of the mosquito. Expression of only the N-terminal CAF1 domain of the essential CAF1 deadenylase leads to a similar phenotype. Comparative RNA-seq revealed that PyCCR4-1 affects transcripts important for transmission-related functions that are associated with male or female gametocytes, some of which directly associate with the immunoprecipitated complex. Finally, circular RT-PCR of one of the bound, dysregulated transcripts showed that deletion of the pyccr4-1 gene does not result in gross changes to its UTR or poly(A) tail length. We conclude that the two putative deadenylases of the CAF1/CCR4/NOT complex play critical and intertwined roles in gametocyte maturation and transmission.

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<![CDATA[Cytomegalovirus vectors expressing Plasmodium knowlesi antigens induce immune responses that delay parasitemia upon sporozoite challenge]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c521823d5eed0c4847974fd

The development of a sterilizing vaccine against malaria remains one of the highest priorities for global health research. While sporozoite vaccines targeting the pre-erythrocytic stage show great promise, it has not been possible to maintain efficacy long-term, likely due to an inability of these vaccines to maintain effector memory T cell responses in the liver. Vaccines based on human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) might overcome this limitation since vectors based on rhesus CMV (RhCMV), the homologous virus in rhesus macaques (RM), elicit and indefinitely maintain high frequency, non-exhausted effector memory T cells in extralymphoid tissues, including the liver. Moreover, RhCMV strain 68–1 elicits CD8+ T cells broadly recognizing unconventional epitopes exclusively restricted by MHC-II and MHC-E. To evaluate the potential of these unique immune responses to protect against malaria, we expressed four Plasmodium knowlesi (Pk) antigens (CSP, AMA1, SSP2/TRAP, MSP1c) in RhCMV 68–1 or in Rh189-deleted 68–1, which additionally elicits canonical MHC-Ia-restricted CD8+ T cells. Upon inoculation of RM with either of these Pk Ag expressing RhCMV vaccines, we obtained T cell responses to each of the four Pk antigens. Upon challenge with Pk sporozoites we observed a delayed appearance of blood stage parasites in vaccinated RM consistent with a 75–80% reduction of parasite release from the liver. Moreover, the Rh189-deleted RhCMV/Pk vectors elicited sterile protection in one RM. Once in the blood, parasite growth was not affected. In contrast to T cell responses induced by Pk infection, RhCMV vectors maintained sustained T cell responses to all four malaria antigens in the liver post-challenge. The delayed appearance of blood stage parasites is thus likely due to a T cell-mediated inhibition of liver stage parasite development. As such, this vaccine approach can be used to efficiently test new T cell antigens, improve current vaccines targeting the liver stage and complement vaccines targeting erythrocytic antigens.

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<![CDATA[Low use of long-lasting insecticidal nets for malaria prevention in south-central Ethiopia: A community-based cohort study]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c40f7a4d5eed0c4843864fc

Introduction

A decline in malaria morbidity and mortality has been documented in Ethiopia since 2005 following a scale-up of the distribution of long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs). However, universal access to LLINs ownership and use has not yet been achieved. This study aimed to determine ownership and use of LLINs over time in south-central Ethiopia.

Methods

A cohort of 17,142 individuals residing in 3,006 households was followed-up from October 2014 to January 2017 (121 weeks). New PermaNet2.0 LLINs were given to households in October 2014. Once per week, the LLIN use status was documented for each individual. A survey was conducted after 110 weeks of LLIN distribution to determine LLIN ownership. A multilevel negative binomial regression model was fitted to identify significant predictors of LLIN use.

Results

At baseline, the LLIN ownership was 100%. After 110 weeks only 233 (8%) of the households owned at least one LLIN. The median proportion of LLIN use per individuals during the study period was only 14%. During the first year (week 1–52) the average LLIN use per individuals was 36% and during the second year (week 53–104) it was 4.6%. More frequent LLIN use was reported among age group [5–14 years (adjusted IRR = 1.13, 95% CI 1.04–1.22), 15–24 years (adjusted IRR = 1.33, 95% CI 1.23–1.45), ≥25 years (adjusted IRR = 1.99, 95% CI 1.83–2.17)] compared to <5 years, and household head educational status [read and write (adjusted IRR = 1.17, 95% CI 1.09–1.26), primary (adjusted IRR = 1.20, 95% CI 1.12–1.27), secondary or above (adjusted IRR = 1.20, 95% CI (1.11–1.30)] compared to illiterate. Having a family size of over five persons (adjusted IRR = 0.78, 95% CI 0.73–0.84) was associated with less frequent use of LLINs compared to a family size of ≤5 persons.

Conclusions

The study showed a low LLIN ownership after 110 weeks and a low LLIN use during 121 weeks of follow-up, despite 100% LLIN coverage at baseline. The study highlights the need to design strategies to increase LLIN ownership and use for setting similar to those studied here.

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<![CDATA[Improved access to early diagnosis and complete treatment of malaria in Odisha, India]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c3667a5d5eed0c4841a5ecf

Background

In 2013, the Comprehensive Case Management Programme (CCMP) was initiated to assess the impact of universal access to diagnosis and treatment and improved surveillance on malaria transmission in different settings in Odisha state, India.

Methods

Pairs of intervention and control sub-districts (blocks), matched on malaria incidence were selected in four districts with different transmission intensities. CCMP activities included training and supervision, ensuring no stock-outs of malaria tests and drugs, analysing verified surveillance data, stratifying areas based on risk factors, and appointing alternative providers to underserved areas. Composite risk scores were calculated for each sub-centre using principal component analysis. Post−pre changes (2013–2015 versus 2011–2012) for annual blood examination rates (ABER) and annual parasite incidence (API) across intervention and control groups were assessed using difference-in-difference (DID) estimates, adjusted for malaria transmission risk.

Results

In the intervention sub-centres, the mean increase in ABER was 6.41 tests/sub-centre (95%CI 4.69, 8.14; p<0.01) and in API was 9.2 cases diagnosed/sub-centre (95%CI 5.18, 13.21; p<0.01). The control sub-centres reported lower increases in ABER (2.84 [95%CI 0.35, 5.34]; p<0.05) and API (3.68 [95%CI 0.45, 6.90]; p<0.05). The control-adjusted post–pre changes in API showed that 5.52 more cases (95%CI 0.34, 10.70; p<0.05) were diagnosed, and a 3.6 more cases (95%CI 0.58, 6.56; p<0.05) were tested per sub-centre in the intervention versus control areas. Larger differences in post–pre changes in API between intervention and control sub-centres were registered in the higher transmission-risk areas compared with the lower risk areas. All the changes were statistically significant.

Conclusions

Intensive intervention activities targeted at improved access to malaria diagnosis and treatment produced a substantial increase in blood examination and case notification, especially in inaccessible, hard-to-reach pockets. CCMP provides insights into how to achieve universal coverage of malaria services through a routine, state-run programme.

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<![CDATA[Loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) and Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) as quality assurance tools for Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT) malaria diagnosis in Northern Namibia]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c1ab81bd5eed0c484026b67

Malaria cases sometimes go undetected using RDTs due to their inaccurate use, poor storage conditions and failure to detect low parasitaemia (<50parasites/μL). This could result in continuous transmission of malaria and sustenance of parasite reservoirs. Molecular diagnostic tools are more sensitive and specific than RDTs in the detection of plasmodium parasites. However, the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) is not routinely used because equipment and reagents are expensive and requires highly skilled personnel. Loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) is a relatively new molecular diagnostic tool for malaria with all the advantages of PCR (sensitive and specific) without the mentioned disadvantages. However, it has not been evaluated extensively as a point of care diagnostic in the field. One hundred and fifteen used RDTs were collected from health facilities in Northern Namibia in a blind study and PCR and LAMP were used to determine the presence of Plasmodium DNA. The sensitivities and PPV were 40.91% and 90% respectively for RDTs, 72.73% and 100% respectively for PCR with LAMP as the golden standard. In low malaria transmission settings, LAMP can be also be considered for use as a surveillance tool to detect all sources of malaria and determine proportion of low parasitaemia infections in order to eliminate them.

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<![CDATA[Reinvestigating the status of malaria parasite (Plasmodium sp.) in Indian non-human primates]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c12cf05d5eed0c484913d41

Many human parasites and pathogens have closely related counterparts among non-human primates. For example, non-human primates harbour several species of malaria causing parasites of the genus Plasmodium. Studies suggest that for a better understanding of the origin and evolution of human malaria parasites it is important to know the diversity and evolutionary relationships of these parasites in non-human primates. Much work has been undertaken on malaria parasites in wild great Apes of Africa as well as wild monkeys of Southeast Asia however studies are lacking from South Asia, particularly India. India is one of the major malaria prone regions in the world and exhibits high primate diversity which in turn provides ideal setting for both zoonoses and anthropozoonoses. In this study we report the molecular data for malaria parasites from wild populations of Indian non-human primates. We surveyed 349 fecal samples from five different Indian non-human primates, while 94 blood and tissue samples from one of the Indian non-human primate species (Macaca radiata) and one blood sample from M. mulatta. Our results confirm the presence of P. fragile, P. inui and P. cynomolgi in Macaca radiata. Additionally, we report for the first time the presence of human malarial parasite, P. falciparum, in M. mulatta and M. radiata. Additionally, our results indicate that M. radiata does not exhibit population structure probably due to human mediated translocation of problem monkeys. Human mediated transport of macaques adds an additional level of complexity to tacking malaria in human. This issue has implications for both the spread of primate as well as human specific malarias.

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<![CDATA[Laboratory challenges of Plasmodium species identification in Aceh Province, Indonesia, a malaria elimination setting with newly discovered P. knowlesi]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c0ae437d5eed0c4845892c2

The discovery of the life-threatening zoonotic infection Plasmodium knowlesi has added to the challenges of prompt and accurate malaria diagnosis and surveillance. In this study from Aceh Province, Indonesia, a malaria elimination setting where P. knowlesi endemicity was not previously known, we report the laboratory investigation and difficulties encountered when using molecular detection methods for quality assurance of microscopically identified clinical cases. From 2014 to 2015, 20 (49%) P. falciparum, 16 (39%) P. vivax, 3 (7%) P. malariae, and 2 (5%) indeterminate species were identified by microscopy from four sentinel health facilities. At a provincial-level reference laboratory, loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP), a field-friendly molecular method, was performed and confirmed Plasmodium in all samples though further species-identification was limited by the unavailability of non-falciparum species-specific testing with the platform used. At a national reference laboratory, several molecular methods including nested PCR (nPCR) targeting the 18 small sub-unit (18S) ribosomal RNA, nPCR targeting the cytochrome-b (cytb) gene, a P. knowlesi-specific nPCR, and finally sequencing, were necessary to ultimately classify the samples as: 19 (46%) P. knowlesi, 8 (20%) P. falciparum, 14 (34%) P. vivax. Microscopy was unable to identify or mis-classified up to 56% of confirmed cases, including all cases of P. knowlesi. With the nPCR methods targeting the four human-only species, P. knowlesi was missed (18S rRNA method) or showed cross-reactivity for P. vivax (cytb method). To facilitate diagnosis and management of potentially fatal P. knowlesi infection and surveillance for elimination of human-only malaria in Indonesia and other affected settings, new detection methods are needed for testing at the point-of-care and in local reference laboratories.

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<![CDATA[Adaptive plasticity in the gametocyte conversion rate of malaria parasites]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c256c7dd5eed0c484474e45

Sexually reproducing parasites, such as malaria parasites, experience a trade-off between the allocation of resources to asexual replication and the production of sexual forms. Allocation by malaria parasites to sexual forms (the conversion rate) is variable but the evolutionary drivers of this plasticity are poorly understood. We use evolutionary theory for life histories to combine a mathematical model and experiments to reveal that parasites adjust conversion rate according to the dynamics of asexual densities in the blood of the host. Our model predicts the direction of change in conversion rates that returns the greatest fitness after perturbation of asexual densities by different doses of antimalarial drugs. The loss of a high proportion of asexuals is predicted to elicit increased conversion (terminal investment), while smaller losses are managed by reducing conversion (reproductive restraint) to facilitate within-host survival and future transmission. This non-linear pattern of allocation is consistent with adaptive reproductive strategies observed in multicellular organisms. We then empirically estimate conversion rates of the rodent malaria parasite Plasmodium chabaudi in response to the killing of asexual stages by different doses of antimalarial drugs and forecast the short-term fitness consequences of these responses. Our data reveal the predicted non-linear pattern, and this is further supported by analyses of previous experiments that perturb asexual stage densities using drugs or within-host competition, across multiple parasite genotypes. Whilst conversion rates, across all datasets, are most strongly influenced by changes in asexual density, parasites also modulate conversion according to the availability of red blood cell resources. In summary, increasing conversion maximises short-term transmission and reducing conversion facilitates in-host survival and thus, future transmission. Understanding patterns of parasite allocation to reproduction matters because within-host replication is responsible for disease symptoms and between-host transmission determines disease spread.

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