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EY Lukianova-Hleb et al. Hemozoin-generated vapor nanobubbles for transdermal reagent- and needle-free detection of malaria. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A

High Impact Journal from Malaria Portal - 31 December 2014 - 12:00am
Successful diagnosis, screening, and elimination of malaria critically depend on rapid and sensitive detection of this dangerous infection, preferably transdermally and without sophisticated reagents or blood drawing. . . .
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KJ Vogel et al. Phylogenetic investigation of Peptide hormone and growth factor receptors in five dipteran genomes. Front Endocrinol (Lausanne)

High Impact Journal from Malaria Portal - 31 December 2014 - 12:00am
Peptide hormones and growth factors bind to membrane receptors and regulate a myriad of processes in insects and other metazoans. . . .
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J Rydzak et al. Human erythrocyte glycophorin C as the receptor for EBA-140 Plasmodium falciparum merozoite ligand. Postepy Hig Med Dosw (Online)

High Impact Journal from Malaria Portal - 31 December 2014 - 12:00am
Erythrocyte invasion by the blood-stage Plasmodium falciparum parasites is a multistep process involving specific interactions between parasites and red blood cells. . . .
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R Sundararajan et al. Barriers to Malaria Control among Marginalized Tribal Communities: A Qualitative Study. PLoS One

High Impact Journal from Malaria Portal - 30 December 2014 - 12:00am
Malaria infection accounts for over one million deaths worldwide annually. . . .
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DV Canyon et al. Insights in public health: systems thinking: basic constructs, application challenges, misuse in health, and how public health leaders can pave the way forward. Hawaii J Med Public Health

High Impact Journal from Malaria Portal - 30 December 2014 - 12:00am
The strengthening of health systems is fundamental to improving health outcomes, crisis preparedness, and our capacity to meet global challenges, such as accelerating progress towards the Millennium Development Goals, reducing maternal and child mortality, combating HIV, malaria and other diseases, limiting the effects of a new influenza pandemic, and responding appropriately to climate change. . . .
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Declining efficacy of artesunate plus sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine in northeastern India

Malaria Journal - 22 July 2014 - 12:00am
Background: Anti-malarial drug resistance in Plasmodium falciparum in India has historically travelled from northeast India along the Myanmar border. The treatment policy for P. falciparum in the region was, therefore, changed from chloroquine to artesunate (AS) plus sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) in selected areas in 2005 and in 2008 it became the first-line treatment. Recognizing that resistance to the partner drug can limit the useful life of this combination therapy, routine in vivo and molecular monitoring of anti-malarial drug efficacy through sentinel sites was initiated in 2009. Methods: Between May and October 2012, 190 subjects with acute uncomplicated falciparum malaria were enrolled in therapeutic efficacy studies in the states of Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura, and Mizoram. Clinical and parasitological assessments were conducted over 42 days of follow-up. Multivariate analysis was used to determine risk factors associated with treatment failure. Genotyping was done to distinguish re-infection from recrudescence as well as to determine the prevalence of molecular markers of antifolate resistance among isolates. Results: A total of 169 patients completed 42 days of follow-up at three sites. The crude and PCR-corrected Kaplan-Meier survival estimates of AS + SP were 60.8% (95% CI: 48.0-71.4) and 76.6% (95% CI: 64.1-85.2) in Gomati, Tripura; 74.6% (95% CI: 62.0-83.6) and 81.7% (95% CI: 69.4-89.5) in Lunglei, Mizoram; and, 59.5% (95% CI: 42.0-73.2) and 82.3% (95% CI: 64.6-91.6) in Changlang, Arunachal Pradesh. Most patients with P. falciparum cleared parasitaemia within 24 hours of treatment, but eight, including three patients who failed treatment, remained parasitaemic on day 3. Risk factors associated with treatment failure included age < five years, fever at the time of enrolment and AS under dosing. No adverse events were reported. Presence of dhfr plus dhps quintuple mutation was observed predominantly in treatment failure samples. Conclusion: AS + SP treatment failure was widespread in northeast India and exceeded the threshold for changing drug policy. Based on these results, in January 2013 the expert committee of the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme formulated the first subnational drug policy for India and selected artemether plus lumefantrine as the new first-line treatment in the northeast. Continued monitoring of anti-malarial drug efficacy is essential for effective malaria control.
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Plasmodium falciparum parasites lacking histidine-rich protein 2 and 3: a review and recommendations for accurate reporting

Malaria Journal - 22 July 2014 - 12:00am
Malaria rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) play a critical role in malaria case management, surveillance and case investigations. Test performance is largely determined by design and quality characteristics, such as detection sensitivity, specificity, and thermal stability. However, parasite characteristics such as variable or absent expression of antigens targeted by RDTs can also affect RDT performance. Plasmodium falciparum parasites lacking the PfHRP2 protein, the most common target antigen for detection of P. falciparum, have been reported in some regions. Therefore, accurately mapping the presence and prevalence of P. falciparum parasites lacking pfhrp2 would be an important step so that RDTs targeting alternative antigens, or microscopy, can be preferentially selected for use in such regions. Herein the available evidence and molecular basis for identifying malaria parasites lacking PfHRP2 is reviewed, and a set of recommended procedures to apply for future investigations for parasites lacking PfHRP2, is proposed.
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Evaluation of community-based systems for the surveillance of day three-positive Plasmodium falciparum cases in Western Cambodia

Malaria Journal - 22 July 2014 - 12:00am
Background: Delayed clearance of Plasmodium falciparum parasites is used as an operational indicator of potential artemisinin resistance. Effective community-based systems to detect P. falciparum cases remaining positive 72 hours after initiating treatment would be valuable for guiding case follow-up in areas of known resistance risk and for detecting areas of emerging resistance. Methods: Systems incorporating existing networks of village malaria workers (VMWs) to monitor day three-positive P. falciparum cases were piloted in three provinces in western Cambodia. Quantitative and qualitative data were used to evaluate the wider feasibility and sustainability of community-based surveillance of day three-positive P. falciparum cases. Results: Of 294 day-three blood slides obtained across all sites (from 297 day-0 positives), 63 were positive for P. falciparum, an overall day-three positivity rate of 21%. There were significant variations in the systems implemented by different partners. Full engagement of VMWs and health centre staff is critical. VMWs are responsible for a range of individual tasks including preparing blood slides on day-0, completing forms, administering directly observed therapy (DOT) on days 0-2, obtaining follow-up slides on day-three and transporting slides and paperwork to their supervising health centre. When suitably motivated, unsalaried VMWs are willing and able to produce good quality blood smears and achieve very high rates of DOT and day-three follow-up. Conclusions: Community-based surveillance of day-three P. falciparum cases is feasible, but highly intensive, and as such needs strong and continuous support, particularly supervision and training. The purpose and role of community-based day-three surveillance should be assessed in the light of resource requirements; scaling-up would need to be systematic and targeted, based on clearly defined epidemiological criteria. To be truly comprehensive, the system would need to be extended beyond VMWs to other public and private health providers.
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Pharmacokinetic evaluation of intravenous artesunate in adults with uncomplicated falciparum malaria in Kenya: a phase II study

Malaria Journal - 22 July 2014 - 12:00am
Background: Alternatives to treatment for malaria treatment of travellers are needed in the USA and in Europe for travellers who return with severe malaria infections. The objective of this study is to show the pharmacokinetic (PK) profile of intravenous artesunate (AS), which was manufactured under good manufacturing practice (GMP) conditions, in adults with uncomplicated falciparum malaria in Kenya. Methods: The PK parameters of intravenous AS manufactured under current cGMP were evaluated after a single dose of drug at 2.4 mg/kg infused over 2 min in 28 adults with uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria. Plasma concentrations of AS and dihydroartemisinin (DHA) were measured using a validated liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) methodology. Pharmacokinetic data were analysed with a compartmental analysis for AS and DHA. Results: The results suggest there were no drug-related adverse events in any of the patients. After intravenous infusion, the concentration of the parent drug rapidly declined, and the AS was converted to DHA. AS and DHA showed mean elimination half-lives of 0.17 hours and 1.30 hours, respectively. The high mean peak concentration (Cmax) of AS was shown to be 28,558 ng/mL while the Cmax of DHA was determined to be 2,932 ng/mL. Significant variability was noted in the PK profiles of the 28 patients tested. For example, Cmax values of AS were calculated to range from 3,362 to 55,873 ng/mL, and the Cmax value of DHA was noted to vary from 1,493 to 5,569 ng/mL. The mean area under the curve (AUC) of AS was shown to be approximately half that of DHA (1,878 ng.h/mL vs 3,543 ng.h/mL). The DHA/AS ratio observed was 1.94 during the one-day single treatment, and the AUC and half- life measured for DHA were significantly larger and longer than for AS. Conclusions: Intravenous AS can provide much higher peak concentrations of AS when compared to concentrations achieved with oral therapy; this may be crucial for the rapid elimination of parasites in patients with severe malaria. Given the much longer half-life of DHA compared to the short half-life of AS, DHA also plays a significant role in treatment of severe malaria.
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Imported malaria in a non-endemic area: the experience of the university of Campinas hospital in the Brazilian Southeast

Malaria Journal - 22 July 2014 - 12:00am
Background: Although malaria in Brazil almost exclusively occurs within the boundaries of the Amazon Region, some concerns are raised regarding imported malaria to non-endemic areas of the country, notably increased incidence of complications due to delayed diagnoses. However, although imported malaria in Brazil represents a major health problem, only a few studies have addressed this subject. Methods: A retrospective case series is presented in which 263 medical charts were analysed to investigate the clinical and epidemiological characterization of malaria cases that were diagnosed and treated at Hospital & Clinics, State University of Campinas between 1998 and 2011. Results: Amongst all medical charts analysed, 224 patients had a parasitological confirmed diagnosis of malaria. Plasmodium vivax and Plasmodium falciparum were responsible for 67% and 30% of the infections, respectively. The majority of patients were male (83%) of a productive age (median, 37 years old). Importantly, severe complications did not differ significantly between P. vivax (14 cases, 9%) and P. falciparum (7 cases, 10%) infections. Conclusions: Severe malaria cases were frequent among imported cases in Brazil outside of the Amazon area. The findings reinforce the idea that P. vivax infections in Brazil are not benign, regardless the endemicity of the area studied. Moreover, as the hospital is located in a privileged site, it could be used for future studies of malaria relapses and primaquine resistance mechanisms. Finally, based on the volume of cases treated and the secondary complications, referral malaria services are needed in the non-endemic areas of Brazil for a rapid and efficient and treatment.
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Chitinase 3-like 1 is induced by Plasmodium falciparum malaria and predicts outcome of cerebral malaria and severe malarial anaemia in a case-control study of African children

Malaria Journal - 21 July 2014 - 12:00am
Background: Severe and fatal malaria are associated with dysregulated host inflammatory responses to infection. Chitinase 3-like 1 (CHI3L1) is a secreted glycoprotein implicated in regulating immune responses. Expression and function of CHI3L1 in malaria infection were investigated. Methods: Plasma levels of CHI3L1 were quantified in a case-control study of Ugandan children presenting with Plasmodium falciparum malaria. CHI3L1 levels were compared in children with uncomplicated malaria (UM; n = 53), severe malarial anaemia (SMA; n = 59) and cerebral malaria (CM; n = 44) using the Kruskall Wallis-test, and evaluated for utility in predicting fatal (n = 23) versus non-fatal (n = 80) outcomes in severe disease using the Mann Whitney U test, receiver operating characteristic curves, and combinatorial analysis. Co-culture of P. falciparum with human peripheral blood mononuclear cells and the Plasmodium berghei ANKA experimental model of cerebral malaria were used to examine the role of CHI3L1 in severe malaria. Results: In children presenting with falciparum malaria, CHI3L1 levels were increased in SMA and CM versus UM (p < 0.001). Among severe malaria cases, CHI3L1 levels at presentation predicted subsequent death (area under receiver operating characteristic curve 0.84 [95% CI 0.76-0.92]) and in combination with other host biomarkers, predicted mortality with high sensitivity (100% [85.7-100]) and specificity (81.3% [71.3-88.3]). Plasmodium falciparum-stimulated CHI3L1 production by human peripheral blood mononuclear cells in vitro. CHI3L1 was increased in plasma and brain tissue in experimental cerebral malaria, but targeted Chi3l1 deletion did not alter cytokine production or survival in this model. Conclusions: These data suggest that plasma CHI3L1 measured at presentation correlates with malaria severity and predicts outcome in paediatric SMA and CM, but do not support a causal role for CHI3L1 in cerebral malaria pathobiology in the model tested.
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DDX39B (BAT1), TNF and IL6 gene polymorphisms and association with clinical outcomes of patients with Plasmodium vivax malaria

Malaria Journal - 19 July 2014 - 12:00am
Background: DDX39B (BAT1) encodes an RNA helicase known to regulate expression of TNF and IL-6. Elevated levels of these two cytokines are associated with increased severity of clinical malaria. The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the DDX39B, TNF and IL6 genes and the clinical outcomes of patients with Plasmodium vivax malaria. Methods: Cross-sectional investigations were carried out in two regions of the Brazilian Amazon where several studies on the pathogenesis of vivax malaria had been performed. Individuals were categorized according to infection status as well as clinical presentation into the following groups: uninfected, asymptomatic infection, mild infection, or complicated infection. Polymorphisms were identified using PCR restriction fragment-length polymorphism analysis and the restriction enzymes NlaIII or NcoI. The plasma levels of cytokines were determined using ELISA. Results: The G allele of DDX39B-22C > G was associated with absent or decreased manifestations of malaria and the C allele was a risk factor for disease complications. Study participants heterozygous for TNF-308 (GA) and DDX39B-348 (CT) had higher TNF levels than wild-type participants. Haplotypes that included DDX39B (-22C > G and -348C > T) and TNF polymorphisms were not directly associated with mild or complicated malaria infections; however, haplotypes AGC, ACC, GGT, AGT and ACT were associated with increased TNF levels. Participants with genotype combinations GC/CC/GG/GG and GG/CT/GG/GG (DDX39B-22/DDX39B-348/TNF-308/IL6-176) had decreased and increased risk of mild malaria, respectively, compared with asymptomatic and uninfected participants. GC/CC/GG/GG was linked to decreased TNF and IL-6 levels. Conclusions: This is the first study to describe patients with DDX39B and IL6 SNPs who had vivax malaria. These findings support the postulation that a set of mutations in immune-related genes is associated with inflammatory mediators and the clinical outcomes of patients with malaria.
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Production and characterization of specific monoclonal antibodies binding the Plasmodium falciparum diagnostic biomarker, histidine-rich protein 2

Malaria Journal - 18 July 2014 - 12:00am
Background: Early and accurate diagnosis of Plasmodium falciparum infection is important for providing appropriate treatment to patients with malaria. However, technical limitations of currently available diagnostic tests limit their use in control programs. One possible explanation for the vulnerability of current antibodies used in RDTs is their propensity to degrade at high ambient temperatures. Isolation of new antibodies with better thermal stability represents an appealing approach to improve the performance of RDTs. Methods: In this study, phage display technology was deployed to isolate novel binders by screening a human naive scFv antibody library against recombinant Plasmodium falciparum histidine rich protein 2 (rPfHRP2). The isolated scFv clones were reformatted to whole IgG and the recombinant mAbs were produced in a mammalian CHO cell expression system. To verify the biological activity of these purified recombinant mAbs, range of functional assays were characterized. Results: Two unique clones (D2 and F9) were isolated after five rounds of biopanning. The reformatted and expressed antibodies demonstrated high binding specificity to malaria recombinant PfHRP2 and native proteins. When 5 mug/mL of mAbs applied, mAb C1-13 had the highest sensitivity, with an OD value of 1, the detection achieved 5 ng/mL of rPfHRP2, followed by mAbs D2 and F9 at 10 ng/mL and 100 ng/mL of rPfHRP2, respectively. Although the sensitivity of mAbs D2 and F9 was lower than the control, these recombinant human mAbs have shown better stability compared to mouse mAb C1-13 at various temperatures in DSC and blot assays. In view of epitope mapping, the predominant motif of rPfHRP2 recognized by mAb D2 was AHHAADAHHA, whereas mAb F9 was one amino acid shorter, resulting in AHHAADAHH. mAb F9 had the strongest binding affinity to rPfHRP2 protein, with a KD value of 4.27 x 10-11 M, followed by control mAb C1-13 at 1.03 x 10-10 M and mAb D2 at 3.05 x 10-10 M. Conclusions: Overall, the performance of these mAbs showed comparability to currently available PfHRP2-specific mouse mAb C1-13. The stability of these novel binders indicate that they merit further work to evaluate their utility in the development of new generation point of care diagnosis of malaria.
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Magnetic resonance imaging during life: the key to unlock cerebral malaria pathogenesis?

Malaria Journal - 18 July 2014 - 12:00am
Understanding the mechanisms underlying the pathophysiology of cerebral malaria in patients with Plasmodium falciparum infection is necessary to implement new curative interventions. While autopsy-based studies shed some light on several pathological events that are believed to be crucial in the development of this neurologic syndrome, their investigative potential is limited and has not allowed the identification of causes of death in patients who succumb to it. This can only be achieved by comparing features between patients who die from cerebral malaria and those who survive. In this review, several alternative approaches recently developed to facilitate the comparison of specific parameters between fatal, non-fatal cerebral malaria and uncomplicated malaria patients are described, as well as their limitations. The emergence of neuroimaging as a revolutionary tool in identifying critical structural and functional modifications of the brain during cerebral malaria is discussed and highly promising areas of clinical research using magnetic resonance imaging are highlighted.
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PTEX is an essential nexus for protein export in malaria parasites

CiteULike malaria tags - 17 July 2014 - 10:51am
Nature, Vol. advance online publication (16 July 2014), doi:10.1038/nature13555
Brendan Elsworth, Kathryn Matthews, Catherine Nie, Ming Kalanon, Sarah Charnaud, Paul Sanders, Scott Chisholm, Natalie Counihan, Philip Shaw, Paco Pino, Jo-Anne Chan, Mauro Azevedo, Stephen Rogerson, James Beeson, Brendan Crabb, Paul Gilson, Tania de Koning-Ward
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PTEX component HSP101 mediates export of diverse malaria effectors into host erythrocytes

CiteULike malaria tags - 17 July 2014 - 10:50am
Nature, Vol. advance online publication (16 July 2014), doi:10.1038/nature13574
Josh Beck, Vasant Muralidharan, Anna Oksman, Daniel Goldberg
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Thiamin supplementation does not reduce the frequency of adverse events after anti-malarial therapy among patients with falciparum malaria in southern Laos

Malaria Journal - 15 July 2014 - 12:00am
Background: In a recent study one third of Lao patients presenting with uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria had biochemical evidence of thiamin deficiency, which was associated with a higher incidence of adverse events. Thiamin supplementation might, therefore, reduce adverse events in this population. Methods: An exploratory, double-blind, parallel group, placebo-controlled, superiority trial of thiamin supplementation in patients of all ages with uncomplicated and severe falciparum malaria was conducted in Xepon District, Savannakhet Province, southern Laos. Patients were randomly assigned to either oral thiamin 10 mg/day for 7 days immediately after standard anti-malarial treatment then 5 mg daily until day 42, or identical oral placebo. Results: After interim analyses when 630 patients (314 in thiamin and 316 in placebo groups) had been recruited, the trial was discontinued on the grounds of futility. On admission biochemical thiamin deficiency (alpha >= 25%) was present in 27% of patients and 9% had severe deficiency (alpha > 31%). After 42 days of treatment, the frequency of thiamin deficiency was lower in the thiamin (2%, 1% severe) compared to the placebo (11%, 3% severe) groups (p < 0.001 and p = 0.05), respectively. Except for diarrhoea, 7% in the placebo compared to 3% in the thiamin group (p = 0.04), and dizziness on day 1 (33% vs 25%, p = 0.045), all adverse events were not significantly different between the groups (p > 0.05). Clinical, haematological, and parasitological responses to treatment did not differ significantly between the two groups. Conclusion: Thiamin supplementation reduced biochemical thiamin deficiency among Lao malaria patients following anti-malarial drug treatment, but it did not reduce the frequency of adverse events after anti-malarial therapy or have any detected clinical or parasitological impact.Trial registration: ISRCTN 85411059.
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Submicroscopic malaria infection during pregnancy and the impact of intermittent preventive treatment

Malaria Journal - 15 July 2014 - 12:00am
Background: Malaria during pregnancy results in adverse outcomes for mothers and infants. Intermittent preventive treatment (IPT) with sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) is the primary intervention aimed at reducing malaria infection during pregnancy. Although submicroscopic infection is common during pregnancy and at delivery, its impact throughout pregnancy on the development of placental malaria and adverse pregnancy outcomes has not been clearly established. Methods: Quantitative PCR was used to detect submicroscopic infections in pregnant women enrolled in an observational study in Blantyre, Malawi to determine their effect on maternal, foetal and placental outcomes. The ability of SP to treat and prevent submicroscopic infections was also assessed. Results: 2,681 samples from 448 women were analysed and 95 submicroscopic infections were detected in 68 women, a rate of 0.6 episodes per person-year of follow-up. Submicroscopic infections were most often detected at enrolment. The majority of women with submicroscopic infections did not have a microscopically detectable infection detected during pregnancy. Submicroscopic infection was associated with placental malaria even after controlling for microscopically detectable infection and was associated with decreased maternal haemoglobin at the time of detection. However, submicroscopic infection was not associated with adverse maternal or foetal outcomes at delivery. One-third of women with evidence of placental malaria did not have documented peripheral infection during pregnancy. SP was moderately effective in treating submicroscopic infections, but did not prevent the development of new submicroscopic infections in the month after administration. Conclusions: Submicroscopic malaria infection is common and occurs early in pregnancy. SP-IPT can clear some submicroscopic infections but does not prevent new infections after administration. To effectively control pregnancy-associated malaria, new interventions are required to target women prior to their first antenatal care visit and to effectively treat and prevent all malaria infections.
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