When both parasite species are co-endemic, Plasmodium vivax incidence peaks in younger children compared to P. falciparum. To identify differences in the number of blood stage infections of these species and its potential link to acquisition of immunity, we have estimated the molecular force of blood-stage infection of P. vivax (molFOB, i.e. the number of genetically distinct blood-stage infections over time), and compared it to previously reported values for P. falciparum.
molFOB was estimated by high resolution genotyping parasites in samples collected over 16 months in a cohort of 264 Papua New Guinean children living in an area highly endemic for P. falciparum and P. vivax. In this cohort, P. vivax episodes decreased three-fold over the age range of 1–4.5 years.
On average, children acquired 14.0 new P. vivax blood-stage clones/child/year-at-risk. While the incidence of clinical P. vivax illness was strongly associated with molFOB (incidence rate ratio (IRR) = 1.99, 95% confidence interval (CI95) [1.80, 2.19]), molFOB did not change with age. The incidence of P. vivax showed a faster decrease with age in children with high (IRR = 0.49, CI95 [0.38, 0.64] p<0.001) compared to those with low exposure (IRR = 0.63, CI95[0.43, 0.93] p = 0.02).
molFOB is considerably higher than P. falciparum
molFOB (5.5 clones/child/year-at-risk). The high number of P. vivax clones that infect children in early childhood contribute to the rapid acquisition of immunity against clinical P. vivax malaria.
In areas where P. vivax and P. falciparum parasite species co-occur, immunity to P. vivax seems to be acquired more rapidly. This difference could be caused either by generic differences in the way immunity is acquired or by a relatively higher exposure to P. vivax blood-stage infections in early life. We found that children experienced an average of 14 new P. vivax blood-stage infections per year, and that the number of new infections acquired predicted how often children fell ill with vivax malaria by genotyping all P. vivax infections that occurred in a group of 264 children 1–4 years of age followed for 16 months. The burden of blood-stage infections caused by P. vivax was therefore at least twice as high as that caused by P. falciparum. This higher force-of-blood-stage infection (molFOB) caused by P. vivax is at least partially due to the ability of P. vivax hypnozoites to relapse from long-lasting liver stages. A high exposure to P. vivax blood-stage infection resulted in more rapid decrease in the incidence of P. vivax malaria. The high number of P. vivax clones that infect children in early childhood is thus likely to contribute substantially to the rapid acquisition of immunity against clinical P. vivax malaria.
No commercial immunodiagnostic tests for human scabies are currently available, and existing animal tests are not sufficiently sensitive. The recombinant Sarcoptes scabiei apolipoprotein antigen Sar s 14.3 is a promising immunodiagnostic, eliciting high levels of IgE and IgG in infected people. Limited data are available regarding the temporal development of antibodies to Sar s 14.3, an issue of relevance in terms of immunodiagnosis. We utilised a porcine model to prospectively compare specific antibody responses to a primary infestation by ELISA, to Sar s 14.3 and to S. scabiei whole mite antigen extract (WMA). Differences in the antibody profile between antigens were apparent, with Sar s 14.3 responses detected earlier, and declining significantly after peak infestation compared to WMA. Both antigens resulted in >90% diagnostic sensitivity from weeks 8–16 post infestation. These data provide important information on the temporal development of humoral immune responses in scabies and further supports the development of recombinant antigen based immunodiagnostic tests for recent scabies infestations.
The diagnosis and management of glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency is a crucial aspect in the current phases of malaria control and elimination, which will require the wider use of 8-aminoquinolines for both reducing Plasmodium falciparum transmission and achieving the radical cure of Plasmodium vivax. 8-aminoquinolines, such as primaquine, can induce severe haemolysis in G6PD-deficient individuals, potentially creating significant morbidity and undermining confidence in 8-aminoquinoline prescription. On the other hand, erring on the side of safety and excluding large numbers of people with unconfirmed G6PD deficiency from treatment with 8-aminoquinolines will diminish the impact of these drugs. Estimating the remaining G6PD enzyme activity is the most direct, accessible, and reliable assessment of the phenotype and remains the gold standard for the diagnosis of patients who could be harmed by the administration of primaquine. Genotyping seems an unambiguous technique, but its use is limited by cost and the large range of recognized G6PD genotypes. A number of enzyme activity assays diagnose G6PD deficiency, but they require a cold chain, specialized equipment, and laboratory skills. These assays are impractical for care delivery where most patients with malaria live. Improvements to the diagnosis of G6PD deficiency are required for the broader and safer use of 8-aminoquinolines to kill hypnozoites, while lower doses of primaquine may be safely used to kill gametocytes without testing. The discussions and conclusions of a workshop conducted in Incheon, Korea in May 2012 to review key knowledge gaps in G6PD deficiency are reported here.
Malaria; Vivax; Falciparum; 8-aminoquinolines; Primaquine; Tafenoquine; G6PD; Deficiency; Diagnostic tests
This study was performed to determine whether nerve transfer immediately after spinal root transection would lead to bladder reinnervation in a canine model. In one animal, the left T12 intercostal nerve was mobilized, cut and attached to the severed ends of sacral roots inducing bladder contraction using a graft from the T11 intercostal nerve. On the right side and bilaterally in two other dogs, coccygeal roots innervating tail musculature were cut and attached to the severed bladder sacral roots (coccygeal nerve transfer [CG NT]). In four other dogs, bladder sacral roots were transected in the vertebral column, and the genitofemoral nerve was transferred within the abdomen to the pelvic nerve (genitofemoral nerve transfer [GF NT]). After 14 months for CG NT and 4.5 months for GF NT, electrical stimulation of the pelvic nerve induced bladder pressure and urethral fluid flow on the intercostal nerve transfer side, in each of the five CG NT sites and bilaterally in three of the four GF NT animals. Reinnervation was further shown by retrograde labeling of spinal cord neurons following fluorogold injections into the bladder wall and by histological examination of the root/nerve suture sites. In all CG NT animals, labeled neuronal cell bodies were located in ventral horns in lamina IX of coccygeal cord segments. In the three GF NT animals in which pelvic nerve stimulation induced bladder contraction, abundant labeled cell bodies were observed in lamina IX and lateral zona intermedia of upper lumbar cord. These results clearly demonstrate that bladder reinnervation can be accomplished by immediate nerve transfer of intercostal nerves or coccygeal spinal roots to severed bladder sacral roots, or by transfer of peripheral genitofemoral nerves (L1,2 origin) to pelvic nerves.
animal studies; axonal injury; neuroplasticity; peripheral nerve injury; regeneration
It is widely recognized that only a handful of drugs are available against soil-transmitted helminthiasis, all of which are characterized by a low efficacy against Trichuris trichiura, when administered as single doses. The re-evaluation of old, forgotten drugs is a promising strategy to identify alternative anthelminthic drug candidates or drug combinations.
We studied the activity of the veterinary drug oxantel pamoate against Trichuris muris, Ancylostoma ceylanicum and Necator americanus in vitro and in vivo. In addition, the dose-effect of oxantel pamoate combined with albendazole, mebendazole, levamisole, pyrantel pamoate and ivermectin was studied against T. muris in vitro and additive or synergistic combinations were followed up in vivo.
We calculated an ED50 of 4.7 mg/kg for oxantel pamoate against T. muris in mice. Combinations of oxantel pamoate with pyrantel pamoate behaved antagonistically in vitro (combination index (CI) = 2.53). Oxantel pamoate combined with levamisole, albendazole or ivermectin using ratios based on their ED50s revealed antagonistic effects in vivo (CI = 1.27, 1.90 and 1.27, respectively). A highly synergistic effect (CI = 0.15) was observed when oxantel pamoate-mebendazole was administered to T. muris-infected mice. Oxantel pamoate (10 mg/kg) lacked activity against Ancylostoma ceylanicum and Necator americanus in vivo.
Our study confirms the excellent trichuricidal properties of oxantel pamoate. Since the drug lacks activity against hookworms it is necessary to combine oxantel pamoate with a partner drug with anti-hookworm properties. Synergistic effects were observed for oxantel pamoate-mebendazole, hence this combination should be studied in more detail. Since, of the standard drugs, albendazole has the highest efficacy against hookworms, additional investigations on the combination effect of oxantel pamoate-albendazole should be launched.
The roundworm Ascaris lumbricoides, the whipworm Trichuris trichiura and the two hookworm species Ancylostoma duodenale and Necator americanus are responsible for the most common infections worldwide and place more than 5 billion people at risk. To control these infections, at risk populations are treated regularly with anthelminthic drugs, mostly albendazole and mebendazole. Since both drugs have a low therapeutic effect against T. trichiura, alternative drugs should be discovered and developed. Possible strategies are to re-evaluate forgotten compounds and to thoroughly study drug combinations. We evaluated the activity of the “old”, veterinary drug oxantel pamoate against T. muris, Ancylostoma ceylanicum and Necator americanus in vitro and in vivo. In addition, we studied the activity of oxantel pamoate combinations with the four standard treatments for soil-transmitted helminthiasis. Our results confirm that oxantel pamoate has excellent trichuricidal properties. We show that the drug lacks activity against hookworms. It is therefore necessary to combine oxantel pamoate with an anti-hookworm drug. Synergistic effects were observed with oxantel pamoate-mebendazole in our study. Additional preclinical studies should be launched with oxantel pamoate-mebendazole as well as oxantel pamoate-albendazole, since albendazole is the most widely used and efficacious anti-hookworm drug.
Little is known about the role of the host defensive protein short palate, lung and nasal epithelium clone 1 (SPLUNC1) in the carcinogenesis of nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC). Here we report that SPLUNC1 plays a role at a very early stage of NPC carcinogenesis. SPLUNC1 regulates NPC cell proliferation, differentiation and apoptosis through miR-141, which in turn regulates PTEN and p27 expression. This signaling axis is negatively regulated by the EBV-coded gene LMP1. Therefore we propose that SPLUNC1 suppresses NPC tumor formation and its inhibition by LMP1 provides a route for NPC tumorigenesis.
Vector-pathogen dynamics play a central role in understanding tree health and forest dynamics. There is substantial evidence that bark beetles act as spore vectors for many species of fungi that cause ‘sapstain’ discolouration of damaged trees and timber. However, the direct quantitative link between vector-mediated spore dispersal and subsequent sapstain colonisation of wood is not fully understood. Here, we used caged versus uncaged experimental logs to test whether the exclusion of bark beetles quantitatively alters the distribution and intensity of sapstain fungal spread within damaged trees. Using generalised linear mixed models, we tested the effect of bark beetle exclusion on sapstain intensity within and among cut logs at two plantation forest sites. Overall, sapstain was found on all logs regardless of caging treatment, indicating that sapstain colonisation can occur (to some degree) without arthropod vectors, probably via wind, rain-splash and, potentially, latent endophytic development. This was supported by the dominance of Diplodia pinea in fungal isolations taken from trees felled at the site, as this fungal species is known to disperse independently of bark beetles. However, the intensity of sapstain within and among experimental logs was significantly greater in uncaged than in caged logs, where beetle colonisation was significantly greater. This appeared to be driven by a significant within-log association between the intensity of staining and the intensity of beetle, and other arthropod, tunnelling and feeding activities. Taken together, these results strongly suggest that the dominant mechanism underlying the role of bark beetles in sapstain development in this study system is not vector-mediated spore dispersal, per se, but rather the facilitation of spore entry and hyphal development through tunnelling and feeding activities. We discuss the implications of these findings for forest management and the effective salvage-harvest of trees damaged by stochastic climate events such as storm and fire damage.
Among Oceania's population of 35 million people, the greatest number living in poverty currently live in Papua New Guinea (PNG), Fiji, Vanuatu, and the Solomon Islands. These impoverished populations are at high risk for selected NTDs, including Necator americanus hookworm infection, strongyloidiasis, lymphatic filariasis (LF), balantidiasis, yaws, trachoma, leprosy, and scabies, in addition to outbreaks of dengue and other arboviral infections including Japanese encephalitis virus infection. PNG stands out for having the largest number of cases and highest prevalence for most of these NTDs. However, Australia's Aboriginal population also suffers from a range of significant NTDs. Through the Pacific Programme to Eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis, enormous strides have been made in eliminating LF in Oceania through programs of mass drug administration (MDA), although LF remains widespread in PNG. There are opportunities to scale up MDA for PNG's major NTDs, which could be accomplished through an integrated package that combines albendazole, ivermectin, diethylcarbamazine, and azithromycin, in a program of national control. Australia's Aboriginal population may benefit from appropriately integrated MDA into primary health care systems. Several emerging viral NTDs remain important threats to the region.
Prion diseases, also known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies, are a group of fatal neurodegenerative diseases that include scrapie in sheep, bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in cattle and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) in humans. The ‘protein only hypothesis’ advocates that PrPSc, an abnormal isoform of the cellular protein PrPC, is the main and possibly sole component of prion infectious agents. Currently, no effective therapy exists for these diseases at the symptomatic phase for either humans or animals, though a number of compounds have demonstrated the ability to eliminate PrPSc in cell culture models. Of particular interest are synthetic polymers known as dendrimers which possess the unique ability to eliminate PrPSc in both an intracellular and in vitro setting. The efficacy and mode of action of the novel anti-prion dendrimer mPPIg5 was investigated through the creation of a number of innovative bio-assays based upon the scrapie cell assay. These assays were used to demonstrate that mPPIg5 is a highly effective anti-prion drug which acts, at least in part, through the inhibition of PrPC to PrPSc conversion. Understanding how a drug works is a vital component in maximising its performance. By establishing the efficacy and method of action of mPPIg5, this study will help determine which drugs are most likely to enhance this effect and also aid the design of dendrimers with anti-prion capabilities for the future.
Bacterial manganese(II) oxidation impacts the redox cycling of Mn, other elements, and compounds in the environment; therefore, it is important to understand the mechanisms of and enzymes responsible for Mn(II) oxidation. In several Mn(II)-oxidizing organisms, the identified Mn(II) oxidase belongs to either the multicopper oxidase (MCO) or the heme peroxidase family of proteins. However, the identity of the oxidase in Pseudomonas putida GB-1 has long remained unknown. To identify the P. putida GB-1 oxidase, we searched its genome and found several homologues of known or suspected Mn(II) oxidase-encoding genes (mnxG, mofA, moxA, and mopA). To narrow this list, we assumed that the Mn(II) oxidase gene would be conserved among Mn(II)-oxidizing pseudomonads but not in nonoxidizers and performed a genome comparison to 11 Pseudomonas species. We further assumed that the oxidase gene would be regulated by MnxR, a transcription factor required for Mn(II) oxidation. Two loci met all these criteria: PputGB1_2447, which encodes an MCO homologous to MnxG, and PputGB1_2665, which encodes an MCO with very low homology to MofA. In-frame deletions of each locus resulted in strains that retained some ability to oxidize Mn(II) or Mn(III); loss of oxidation was attained only upon deletion of both genes. These results suggest that PputGB1_2447 and PputGB1_2665 encode two MCOs that are independently capable of oxidizing both Mn(II) and Mn(III). The purpose of this redundancy is unclear; however, differences in oxidation phenotype for the single mutants suggest specialization in function for the two enzymes.
In this study we developed and evaluated a Brugia Hha I repeat loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) assay for the rapid detection of Brugia genomic DNA. Amplification was detected using turbidity or fluorescence as readouts. Reactions generated a turbidity threshold value or a clear visual positive within 30 minutes using purified genomic DNA equivalent to one microfilaria. Similar results were obtained using DNA isolated from blood samples containing B. malayi microfilariae. Amplification was specific to B. malayi and B. timori, as no turbidity was observed using DNA from the related filarial parasites Wuchereria bancrofti, Onchocerca volvulus or Dirofilaria immitis, or from human or mosquito. Furthermore, the assay was most robust using a new strand-displacing DNA polymerase termed Bst 2.0 compared to wild-type Bst DNA polymerase, large fragment. The results indicate that the Brugia Hha I repeat LAMP assay is rapid, sensitive and Brugia-specific with the potential to be developed further as a field tool for diagnosis and mapping of brugian filariasis.
Brugian filariasis is a debilitating neglected tropical disease caused by infection with the filarial parasites Brugia malayi or Brugia timori. Adult worms live in the lymphatic system and produce large numbers of microfilariae that predominantly circulate in the blood at night. Bloodsucking mosquitoes spread the disease by ingesting microfilariae that develop into infective stage larvae in the insect. In rural areas, diagnosis still relies largely on microscopic examination of night blood and morphological assessment of stained microfilariae. Loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) is a technique that can amplify DNA with high specificity, sensitivity and rapidity under isothermal conditions. The operational simplicity, versatility and low-cost of the technique make it particularly appealing for use in diagnosis and geographical mapping of neglected tropical diseases. In the present study, we have developed and evaluated a Brugia Hha I repeat LAMP assay for the rapid detection of B. malayi and B. timori genomic DNA. The results indicate that the Brugia Hha I repeat LAMP diagnostic assay is sensitive and rapid, detecting a single microfilariae in blood within 30 minutes, and Brugia-specific. The test has the potential to be developed further as a field tool for use in the implementation and management of mass drug administration programs for brugian filariasis.
Chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan 4 (CSPG4), a transmembrane proteoglycan originally identified as a highly immunogenic tumor antigen on the surface of melanoma cells, is associated with melanoma tumor formation and poor prognosis in certain melanomas and several other tumor types. The complex mechanisms by which CSPG4 affects melanoma progression have started to be defined, in particular the association with other cell surface proteins and receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) and its central role in modulating the function of these proteins. CSPG4 is essential to the growth of melanoma tumors through its modulation of integrin function and enhanced growth factor receptor-regulated pathways including sustained activation of ERK 1,2. This activation of integrin, RTK, and ERK 1,2 function by CSPG4 modulates numerous aspects of tumor progression. CSPG4 expression has further been correlated to resistance of melanoma to conventional chemotherapeutics. This review outlines recent advances in our understanding of CSPG4-associated cell signaling, describing the central role it plays in melanoma tumor cell growth, motility, and survival, and explores how modifying CSPG4 function and protein–protein interactions may provide us with novel combinatorial therapies for the treatment of advanced melanoma.
CSPG4; melanoma chondroitin sulfateproteoglycan; NG2; HMW-MAA; melanoma; therapeutics
The antiretroviral protease inhibitors (APIs) ritonavir, saquinavir, and lopinavir, used to treat HIV infection, inhibit the growth of Plasmodium falciparum at clinically relevant concentrations. Moreover, it has been reported that these APIs potentiate the activity of chloroquine (CQ) against this parasite in vitro. The mechanism underlying this effect is not understood, but the degree of chemosensitization varies between the different APIs and, with the exception of ritonavir, appears to be dependent on the parasite exhibiting a CQ-resistant phenotype. Here we report a study of the role of the P. falciparum chloroquine resistance transporter (PfCRT) in the interaction between CQ and APIs, using transgenic parasites expressing different PfCRT alleles and using the Xenopus laevis oocyte system for the heterologous expression of PfCRT. Our data demonstrate that saquinavir behaves as a CQ resistance reverser and that this explains, at least in part, its ability to enhance the effects of CQ in CQ-resistant P. falciparum parasites.
Rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) represent important tools to diagnose malaria infection. To improve understanding of the variable performance of RDTs that detect the major target in Plasmodium falciparum, namely, histidine-rich protein 2 (HRP2), and to inform the design of better tests, we undertook detailed mapping of the epitopes recognized by eight HRP-specific monoclonal antibodies (MAbs). To investigate the geographic skewing of this polymorphic protein, we analyzed the distribution of these epitopes in parasites from geographically diverse areas. To identify an ideal amino acid motif for a MAb to target in HRP2 and in the related protein HRP3, we used a purpose-designed script to perform bioinformatic analysis of 448 distinct gene sequences from pfhrp2 and from 99 sequences from the closely related gene pfhrp3. The frequency and distribution of these motifs were also compared to the MAb epitopes. Heat stability testing of MAbs immobilized on nitrocellulose membranes was also performed. Results of these experiments enabled the identification of MAbs with the most desirable characteristics for inclusion in RDTs, including copy number and coverage of target epitopes, geographic skewing, heat stability, and match with the most abundant amino acid motifs identified. This study therefore informs the selection of MAbs to include in malaria RDTs as well as in the generation of improved MAbs that should improve the performance of HRP-detecting malaria RDTs.
The tumor suppressor candidate gene RASSF1A encodes a microtubule-associated protein that is implicated in the regulation of cell proliferation, migration, and apoptosis. Several studies indicate that down-regulation of RASSF1A resulting from promoter hypermethylation is a frequent epigenetic abnormality in malignant melanoma. In this study, we report that compared with melanocytes in normal skins or benign skin lesions, RASSF1A is down-regulated in melanoma tissues as well as cell lines, and its expression negatively correlates with lymph node metastasis. Following ectopic expression in RASSF1A–deficient melanoma A375 cell line, RASSF1A reduces cell viability, suppresses cell cycle progression but enhances apoptotic cell death. In vivo, RASSF1A expression inhibits the tumorigenic potential of A375 cells in nude mice, which also correlates with decreased cell proliferation and increased apoptosis. On the molecular level, ectopic RASSF1A expression leads to differential expression of 209 genes, including 26 down-regulated and 183 up-regulated ones. Among different signaling pathways, activation of the apoptosis signal-regulating kinase 1 (ASK1)/p38 MAP kinase signaling is essential for RASSF1A-induced mitochondrial apoptosis, and the inhibition of the Akt/p70S6 kinase/eIF4E signaling is also important for RASSF1A-mediated apoptosis and cell cycle arrest. This is the first study exploring the biological functions and the underlying mechanisms of RASSF1A during melanoma development. It also identifies potential targets for further diagnosis and clinical therapy.
RASSF1A; tumor suppressor gene; melanoma; apoptosis; cell cycle
HIV-1 protease inhibitors (PIs) have antimalarial activity in vitro and in murine models. The potential beneficial effect of HIV-1 PIs on malaria has not been studied in clinical settings. We used data from Adult AIDS Clinical Trials Group A5208 sites where malaria is endemic to compare the incidence of clinically diagnosed malaria among HIV-infected adult women randomized to either lopinavir/ritonavir (LPV/r)-based antiretroviral therapy (ART) or to nevirapine (NVP)-based ART. We calculated hazard ratios and 95% confidence intervals. We conducted a recurrent events analysis that included both first and second clinical malarial episodes and also conducted analyses to assess the sensitivity of results to outcome misclassification. Among the 445 women in this analysis, 137 (31%) received a clinical diagnosis of malaria at least once during follow-up. Of these 137, 72 (53%) were randomized to LPV/r-based ART. Assignment to the LPV/r treatment group (n = 226) was not consistent with a large decrease in the hazard of first clinical malarial episode (hazard ratio = 1.11 [0.79 to 1.56]). The results were similar in the recurrent events analysis. Sensitivity analyses indicated the results were robust to reasonable levels of outcome misclassification. In this study, the treatment with LPV/r compared to NVP had no apparent beneficial effect on the incidence of clinical malaria among HIV-infected adult women. Additional research concerning the effects of PI-based therapy on the incidence of malaria diagnosed by more specific criteria and among groups at a higher risk for severe disease is warranted.
Relapsing Plasmodium vivax infection results in significant morbidity for the individual and is a key factor in transmission. Primaquine remains the only licensed drug for prevention of relapse. To minimize relapse rates, treatment guidelines have recently been revised to recommend an increased primaquine dose, aiming to achieve a cumulative dose of ≥6 mg/kg, i.e. ≥420 mg in a 70 kg patient. The aims of this study were to characterize the epidemiology of P. vivax infection imported into Queensland Australia, to determine the rates of relapse, to investigate the use of primaquine therapy, and its efficacy in the prevention of relapse.
A retrospective study was undertaken of laboratory confirmed P. vivax infection presenting to the two major tertiary hospitals in Queensland, Australia between January 1999 and January 2011.
Primaquine dosing was classified as no dose, low dose (<420 mg), high dose (≥420 mg), or unknown. The dose of primaquine prescribed to patients who subsequently relapsed that prescribed to patients who did not relapse.
Twenty relapses occurred following 151 primary episodes of P. vivax infection (13.2%). Relapses were confirmed among 3/21 (14.2%), 9/50 (18.0%), 1/54 (1.9%) and 7/18 (38.9%) of patients administered no dose, low dose, high dose and unknown primaquine dose respectively. High dose primaquine therapy was associated with a significantly lower rate of relapse compared to patients who were prescribed low dose therapy (OR 11.6, 95% CI 1.5-519, p = 0.005).
Relapse of P. vivax infection is more likely in patients who received low dose primaquine therapy. This study supports the recommendations that high dose primaquine therapy is necessary to minimize relapse of P. vivax malaria.
Plasmodium vivax; Relapse; Primaquine; Imported; Epidemiology; Australia; Oceania
A disproportionate burden of helminthiases in human populations occurs in marginalised, low-income, and resource-constrained regions of the world, with over 1 billion people in developing areas of sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, and the Americas infected with one or more helminth species. The morbidity caused by such infections imposes a substantial burden of disease, contributing to a vicious circle of infection, poverty, decreased productivity, and inadequate socioeconomic development. Furthermore, helminth infection accentuates the morbidity of malaria and HIV/AIDS, and impairs vaccine efficacy. Polyparasitism is the norm in these populations, and infections tend to be persistent. Hence, there is a great need to reduce morbidity caused by helminth infections. However, major deficiencies exist in diagnostics and interventions, including vector control, drugs, and vaccines. Overcoming these deficiencies is hampered by major gaps in knowledge of helminth biology and transmission dynamics, platforms from which to help develop such tools. The Disease Reference Group on Helminths Infections (DRG4), established in 2009 by the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR), was given the mandate to review helminthiases research and identify research priorities and gaps. In this review, we provide an overview of the forces driving the persistence of helminthiases as a public health problem despite the many control initiatives that have been put in place; identify the main obstacles that impede progress towards their control and elimination; and discuss recent advances, opportunities, and challenges for the understanding of the biology, epidemiology, and control of these infections. The helminth infections that will be discussed include: onchocerciasis, lymphatic filariasis, soil-transmitted helminthiases, schistosomiasis, food-borne trematodiases, and taeniasis/cysticercosis.
Human helminthiases are of considerable public health importance in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The acknowledgement of the disease burden due to helminth infections, the availability of donated or affordable drugs that are mostly safe and moderately efficacious, and the implementation of viable mass drug administration (MDA) interventions have prompted the establishment of various large-scale control and elimination programmes. These programmes have benefited from improved epidemiological mapping of the infections, better understanding of the scope and limitations of currently available diagnostics and of the relationship between infection and morbidity, feasibility of community-directed or school-based interventions, and advances in the design of monitoring and evaluation (M&E) protocols. Considerable success has been achieved in reducing morbidity or suppressing transmission in a number of settings, whilst challenges remain in many others. Some of the obstacles include the lack of diagnostic tools appropriate to the changing requirements of ongoing interventions and elimination settings; the reliance on a handful of drugs about which not enough is known regarding modes of action, modes of resistance, and optimal dosage singly or in combination; the difficulties in sustaining adequate coverage and compliance in prolonged and/or integrated programmes; an incomplete understanding of the social, behavioural, and environmental determinants of infection; and last, but not least, very little investment in research and development (R&D). The Disease Reference Group on Helminth Infections (DRG4), established in 2009 by the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR), was given the mandate to undertake a comprehensive review of recent advances in helminthiases research, identify research gaps, and rank priorities for an R&D agenda for the control and elimination of these infections. This review presents the processes undertaken to identify and rank ten top research priorities; discusses the implications of realising these priorities in terms of their potential for improving global health and achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs); outlines salient research funding needs; and introduces the series of reviews that follow in this PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases collection, “A Research Agenda for Helminth Diseases of Humans.”
Mathematical modelling of helminth infections has the potential to inform policy and guide research for the control and elimination of human helminthiases. However, this potential, unlike in other parasitic and infectious diseases, has yet to be realised. To place contemporary efforts in a historical context, a summary of the development of mathematical models for helminthiases is presented. These efforts are discussed according to the role that models can play in furthering our understanding of parasite population biology and transmission dynamics, and the effect on such dynamics of control interventions, as well as in enabling estimation of directly unobservable parameters, exploration of transmission breakpoints, and investigation of evolutionary outcomes of control. The Disease Reference Group on Helminth Infections (DRG4), established in 2009 by the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR), was given the mandate to review helminthiases research and identify research priorities and gaps. A research and development agenda for helminthiasis modelling is proposed based on identified gaps that need to be addressed for models to become useful decision tools that can support research and control operations effectively. This agenda includes the use of models to estimate the impact of large-scale interventions on infection incidence; the design of sampling protocols for the monitoring and evaluation of integrated control programmes; the modelling of co-infections; the investigation of the dynamical relationship between infection and morbidity indicators; the improvement of analytical methods for the quantification of anthelmintic efficacy and resistance; the determination of programme endpoints; the linking of dynamical helminth models with helminth geostatistical mapping; and the investigation of the impact of climate change on human helminthiases. It is concluded that modelling should be embedded in helminth research, and in the planning, evaluation, and surveillance of interventions from the outset. Modellers should be essential members of interdisciplinary teams, propitiating a continuous dialogue with end users and stakeholders to reflect public health needs in the terrain, discuss the scope and limitations of models, and update biological assumptions and model outputs regularly. It is highlighted that to reach these goals, a collaborative framework must be developed for the collation, annotation, and sharing of databases from large-scale anthelmintic control programmes, and that helminth modellers should join efforts to tackle key questions in helminth epidemiology and control through the sharing of such databases, and by using diverse, yet complementary, modelling approaches.
Recognising the burden helminth infections impose on human populations, and particularly the poor, major intervention programmes have been launched to control onchocerciasis, lymphatic filariasis, soil-transmitted helminthiases, schistosomiasis, and cysticercosis. The Disease Reference Group on Helminth Infections (DRG4), established in 2009 by the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR), was given the mandate to review helminthiases research and identify research priorities and gaps. A summary of current helminth control initiatives is presented and available tools are described. Most of these programmes are highly dependent on mass drug administration (MDA) of anthelmintic drugs (donated or available at low cost) and require annual or biannual treatment of large numbers of at-risk populations, over prolonged periods of time. The continuation of prolonged MDA with a limited number of anthelmintics greatly increases the probability that drug resistance will develop, which would raise serious problems for continuation of control and the achievement of elimination. Most initiatives have focussed on a single type of helminth infection, but recognition of co-endemicity and polyparasitism is leading to more integration of control. An understanding of the implications of control integration for implementation, treatment coverage, combination of pharmaceuticals, and monitoring is needed. To achieve the goals of morbidity reduction or elimination of infection, novel tools need to be developed, including more efficacious drugs, vaccines, and/or antivectorial agents, new diagnostics for infection and assessment of drug efficacy, and markers for possible anthelmintic resistance. In addition, there is a need for the development of new formulations of some existing anthelmintics (e.g., paediatric formulations). To achieve ultimate elimination of helminth parasites, treatments for the above mentioned helminthiases, and for taeniasis and food-borne trematodiases, will need to be integrated with monitoring, education, sanitation, access to health services, and where appropriate, vector control or reduction of the parasite reservoir in alternative hosts. Based on an analysis of current knowledge gaps and identification of priorities, a research and development agenda for intervention tools considered necessary for control and elimination of human helminthiases is presented, and the challenges to be confronted are discussed.
Diagnostic tools appropriate for undertaking interventions to control helminth infections are key to their success. Many diagnostic tests for helminth infection have unsatisfactory performance characteristics and are not well suited for use in the parasite control programmes that are being increasingly implemented. Although the application of modern laboratory research techniques to improve diagnostics for helminth infection has resulted in some technical advances, uptake has not been uniform. Frequently, pilot or proof of concept studies of promising diagnostic technologies have not been followed by much needed product development, and in many settings diagnosis continues to rely on insensitive and unsatisfactory parasitological or serodiagnostic techniques. In contrast, PCR-based xenomonitoring of arthropod vectors, and use of parasite recombinant proteins as reagents for serodiagnostic tests, have resulted in critical advances in the control of specific helminth parasites. The Disease Reference Group on Helminths Infections (DRG4), established in 2009 by the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR) was given the mandate to review helminthiases research and identify research priorities and gaps. In this review, the diagnostic technologies relevant to control of helminth infections, either available or in development, are reviewed. Critical gaps are identified and opportunities to improve needed technologies are discussed.