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Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Orjuela-Sanchez P.,University of Sao Paulo | Karunaweera N.D.,University of Colombo | da Silva-Nunes M.,University of Sao Paulo | da Silva-Nunes M.,Federal University of Acre | And 15 more authors.
BMC Genetics

Background: The ideal malaria parasite populations for initial mapping of genomic regions contributing to phenotypes such as drug resistance and virulence, through genome-wide association studies, are those with high genetic diversity, allowing for numerous informative markers, and rare meiotic recombination, allowing for strong linkage disequilibrium (LD) between markers and phenotype-determining loci. However, levels of genetic diversity and LD in field populations of the major human malaria parasite P. vivax remain little characterized.Results: We examined single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and LD patterns across a 100-kb chromosome segment of P. vivax in 238 field isolates from areas of low to moderate malaria endemicity in South America and Asia, where LD tends to be more extensive than in holoendemic populations, and in two monkey-adapted strains (Salvador-I, from El Salvador, and Belem, from Brazil). We found varying levels of SNP diversity and LD across populations, with the highest diversity and strongest LD in the area of lowest malaria transmission. We found several clusters of contiguous markers with rare meiotic recombination and characterized a relatively conserved haplotype structure among populations, suggesting the existence of recombination hotspots in the genome region analyzed. Both silent and nonsynonymous SNPs revealed substantial between-population differentiation, which accounted for ~40% of the overall genetic diversity observed. Although parasites clustered according to their continental origin, we found evidence for substructure within the Brazilian population of P. vivax. We also explored between-population differentiation patterns revealed by loci putatively affected by natural selection and found marked geographic variation in frequencies of nucleotide substitutions at the pvmdr-1 locus, putatively associated with drug resistance.Conclusion: These findings support the feasibility of genome-wide association studies in carefully selected populations of P. vivax, using relatively low densities of markers, but underscore the risk of false positives caused by population structure at both local and regional levels.See commentary: http://www.biomedcentral.com/1741-7007/8/90. © 2010 Orjuela-Sánchez et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. Source

Kheang S.T.,USAID-U.S. Agency for International Development | Duong S.,National Malaria Center | Olkkonen A.,Bethesda University
American Journal of Public Health

Malaria poses a significant public health burden in the remote areas of western Cambodia, where access to health services and information is limited. Recognizing the potential of village malaria workers to reach these communities, the US Agency for International Development-funded Malaria Control in Cambodia project used a multipronged approach to strengthen the village malaria workers network. As a result, the proportion of confirmed malaria cases treated by village malaria workers has doubled during the past 2 years, significantly increasing the numbers being properly diagnosed and treated. Key to the program's success has been the integration of village malaria workers with public health facilities, improved patient access to prompt diagnosis and treatment, and resolution of systemic barriers such as logistics for rapid diagnostic tests. Source

Parobek C.M.,University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill | Bailey J.A.,University of Massachusetts Medical School | Hathaway N.J.,University of Massachusetts Medical School | Socheat D.,National Malaria Center | And 2 more authors.
PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases

Although Plasmodium vivax is a leading cause of malaria around the world, only a handful of vivax antigens are being studied for vaccine development. Here, we investigated genetic signatures of selection and geospatial genetic diversity of two leading vivax vaccine antigens - Plasmodium vivax merozoite surface protein 1 (pvmsp-1) and Plasmodium vivax circumsporozoite protein (pvcsp). Using scalable next-generation sequencing, we deep-sequenced amplicons of the 42 kDa region of pvmsp-1 (n = 44) and the complete gene of pvcsp (n = 47) from Cambodian isolates. These sequences were then compared with global parasite populations obtained from GenBank. Using a combination of statistical and phylogenetic methods to assess for selection and population structure, we found strong evidence of balancing selection in the 42 kDa region of pvmsp-1, which varied significantly over the length of the gene, consistent with immune-mediated selection. In pvcsp, the highly variable central repeat region also showed patterns consistent with immune selection, which were lacking outside the repeat. The patterns of selection seen in both genes differed from their P. falciparum orthologs. In addition, we found that, similar to merozoite antigens from P. falciparum malaria, genetic diversity of pvmsp-1 sequences showed no geographic clustering, while the non-merozoite antigen, pvcsp, showed strong geographic clustering. These findings suggest that while immune selection may act on both vivax vaccine candidate antigens, the geographic distribution of genetic variability differs greatly between these two genes. The selective forces driving this diversification could lead to antigen escape and vaccine failure. Better understanding the geographic distribution of genetic variability in vaccine candidate antigens will be key to designing and implementing efficacious vaccines. Source

Rueangweerayut R.,Mae Sot General Hospital | Phyo A.P.,Shoklo Malaria Research Unit | Uthaisin C.,Mae Ramat Hospital | Poravuth Y.,National Malaria Center | And 10 more authors.
New England Journal of Medicine

BACKGROUND: Pyronaridine-artesunate is an artemisinin-based combination therapy under evaluation for the treatment of Plasmodium falciparum and P. vivax malaria. METHODS: We conducted a phase 3, open-label, multicenter, noninferiority trial that included 1271 patients between 3 and 60 years of age from Asia (81.3%) or Africa (18.7%) with microscopically confirmed, uncomplicated P. falciparum malaria. Patients underwent randomization for treatment with a fixed-dose combination of 180 mg of pyronaridine and 60 mg of artesunate or with 250 mg of mefloquine plus 100 mg of artesunate. Doses were calculated according to body weight and administered once daily for 3 days. RESULTS: Pyronaridine-artesunate was noninferior to mefloquine plus artesunate for the primary outcome: adequate clinical and parasitologic response in the per-protocol population on day 28, corrected for reinfection with the use of polymerase-chain-reaction (PCR) genotyping. For this outcome, efficacy in the group receiving pyronaridine-artesunate was 99.2% (743 of 749 patients; 95% confidence interval [CI], 98.3 to 99.7) and that in the group receiving mefloquine plus artesunate was 97.8% (360 of 368 patients; 95% CI, 95.8 to 99.1), with a treatment difference of 1.4 percentage points (95% CI, 0.0 to 3.5; P = 0.05). In the intention-to-treat population, efficacy on day 42 in the group receiving pyronaridine-artesunate was 83.1% (705 of 848 patients; 95% CI, 80.4 to 85.6) and that in the group receiving mefloquine plus artesunate was 83.9% (355 of 423 patients; 95% CI, 80.1 to 87.3). In Cambodia, where there were 211 study patients, the median parasite clearance time was prolonged for both treatments: 64 hours versus 16.0 to 38.9 hours in other countries (P<0.001, on the basis of Kaplan-Meier estimates). Kaplan-Meier estimates of the recrudescence rate in the intention-to-treat population in Cambodia until day 42 were higher with pyronaridine-artesunate than with mefloquine plus artesunate (10.2% [95% CI, 5.4 to 18.6] vs. 0%; P = 0.04 as calculated with the log-rank test), but similar for the other countries combined (4.7% [95% CI, 3.3 to 6.7] and 2.8% [95% CI, 1.5 to 5.3], respectively; P = 0.24). Elevated levels of aminotransferases were observed in those receiving pyronaridine-artesunate. Two patients receiving mefloquine plus artesunate had seizures. CONCLUSIONS: Fixed-dose pyronaridine-artesunate was efficacious in the treatment of uncomplicated P. falciparum malaria. In Cambodia, extended parasite clearance times were suggestive of in vivo resistance to artemisinin. (Funded by Shin Poong Pharmaceutical Company and the Medicines for Malaria Venture; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00403260.) Copyright © 2012 Massachusetts Medical Society. Source

Slater H.C.,Imperial College London | Ross A.,Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute | Ross A.,University of Basel | Ouedraogo A.L.,Institute for Disease Modelling | And 20 more authors.

Mass-screen-and-treat and targeted mass-drug-administration strategies are being considered as a means to interrupt transmission of Plasmodium falciparum malaria. However, the effectiveness of such strategies will depend on the extent to which current and future diagnostics are able to detect those individuals who are infectious to mosquitoes. We estimate the relationship between parasite density and onward infectivity using sensitive quantitative parasite diagnostics and mosquito feeding assays from Burkina Faso. We find that a diagnostic with a lower detection limit of 200 parasites per microlitre would detect 55% of the infectious reservoir (the combined infectivity to mosquitoes of the whole population weighted by how often each individual is bitten) whereas a test with a limit of 20 parasites per microlitre would detect 83% and 2 parasites per microlitre would detect 95% of the infectious reservoir. Using mathematical models, we show that increasing the diagnostic sensitivity from 200 parasites per microlitre (equivalent to microscopy or current rapid diagnostic tests) to 2 parasites per microlitre would increase the number of regions where transmission could be interrupted with a mass-screen-and-treat programme from an entomological inoculation rate below 1 to one of up to 4. The higher sensitivity diagnostic could reduce the number of treatment rounds required to interrupt transmission in areas of lower prevalence. We predict that mass-screen-and-treat with a highly sensitive diagnostic is less effective than mass drug administration owing to the prophylactic protection provided to uninfected individuals by the latter approach. In low-transmission settings such as those in Southeast Asia, we find that a diagnostic tool with a sensitivity of 20 parasites per microlitre may be sufficient for targeted mass drug administration because this diagnostic is predicted to identify a similar village population prevalence compared with that currently detected using polymerase chain reaction if treatment levels are high and screening is conducted during the dry season. Along with other factors, such as coverage, choice of drug, timing of the intervention, importation of infections, and seasonality, the sensitivity of the diagnostic can play a part in increasing the chance of interrupting transmission. Source

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