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Last week at MalariaWorld: Malaria conference and ALMA Awards

February 5, 2016 - 10:50 -- Ingeborg van Schayk
Conference: Malaria - from innovation to eradication
MESA announces a Save the Date for a joint Keystone-MESA symposium from 19-23 February 2017 in Kampala, Uganda. This conference is about scientific progress towards global malaria elimination and eradication. Read more about this malaria conference here.
 
African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA) Awards for Excellence
African Heads of State gathered on 30 January 2016 to celebrate the progress against malaria elimination in Africa. At this meeting, ALMA presented its annual Awards for Excellence to the following 13 African countries that have shown commitment, innovation and progress in the fight against malaria:
  • Botswana, Cape Verde, Eritrea, Namibia, Rwanda, São Tomé and Príncipe, South Africa, and Swaziland for achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) target for malaria
  • Rwanda, Senegal and Liberia for Performance in Malaria Control between 2011 and 2015
  • Mali, Guinea and Comoros for being the Most Improved in Malaria Control between 2011 and 2015
MalariaWorld congratulates these countries with these achievements!
 
Blog: The prophylactic effect of artemisia
In his artemisia series Pierre Lutgen describes why the consumption of Artemisia infusion or capsules can work as a prophylaxis against malaria. Read "The strong prophylactic and antimalarial properties of polyunsaturated fatty acids" here.
 
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The strong prophylactic and antimalarial properties of polyunsaturated fatty acids.

February 3, 2016 - 13:08 -- Pierre Lutgen

ABSTRACT

Artemisia plants are rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) which generate prostaglandins and stimulate monocytes. PUFAs possess well documented antimalarial and prophylactic properties. Their half-life in plasma is several days and in adipose tissue several weeks. This may explain the prophylactic effect of regular consumption of Artemisia infusion or powder.

INTRODUCTION

Is genetic modification of anophelines the way to start elimination of malaria?

January 27, 2016 - 18:48 -- William Jobin

From the recent reports out of California and other places, it appears that anophelines can be genetically modified so that (1) they are no longer susceptible to plasmodium infections, and (2) their progeny will be all males! If this can be developed for field use, it looks to me like it is the Beginning of the End of malaria in Africa. But I am an engineer with no experience in genetics. Do you think that this technique can be developed for field application?

Breaking news from clinical trials with Artemisia plants

January 5, 2016 - 15:30 -- Pierre Lutgen

A team of medical doctors in RDCongo, Jerome Munyangi and Michel Idumbo, have run randomized clinical trials on a large scale in the Maniema province with the participation of some 1000 malaria infected patients. The trials were run in conformity with the WHO procedures and compared Artemisia annua and Artemisia afra with ACTs (Coartem and ASAQ). For all the parameters tested herbal treatment was significantly better than ACTs: faster clearance for fever and parasitemia, absence of parasites on day 28 for 99.5% of the Artemisia treatments and 79.5% only for the ACT treatments.

Help me - Was 2015 the beginning of the End?

December 30, 2015 - 15:34 -- William Jobin

A recent report from a laboratory in California offers the hope for a method of genetic modification which could lead to species elimination from large geographical areas, such as Anopheles gambiae elimination from Africa. To quote the New York Times Science section of 22 December, “A gene drive designed to render a population extinct is known as a crash drive. A crash drive being developed for mosquitoes consists of a gene engineered into the Y chromosome that shreds the X chromosome in the cells that make the mosquito’s sperm, thus ensuring that all progeny are male.

Malaria, diabetes and arginine

December 12, 2015 - 09:26 -- Pierre Lutgen

Diabetes burden is rising sharply in the African Region according to Dr Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO Regional Director for Africa. Reports of type 2 diabetes in children – previously rare – is a growing concern. In some countries, children and adolescents account for almost half of all newly diagnosed cases of type 2 diabetes. Diabetes is a leading cause of blindness, amputation, kidney failure and heart disease.

Press release: Researchers receive $10.2 million to study new malaria-prevention method

December 11, 2015 - 06:43 -- Ingeborg van Schayk
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- In collaboration with partners in Europe and Africa, researchers at Penn State have received a five-year, $10.2-million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to investigate a new method for preventing the transmission of malaria. The method involves limiting mosquito access to houses by blocking openings and installing "eave tubes" that contain a unique type of insecticide-laced mosquito netting developed by Dutch partner In2Care that kills the insects as they attempt to enter. 
 

Quarterly report on recent developments in Vector Control

December 8, 2015 - 09:28 -- Bart G.J. Knols

This quarterly report, produced by Vector Works, is meant to update the malaria community in general, and particularly those interested in vector control, on recently published research related to the improvement or development of new or alternative vector control tools. The report summarizes relevant new studies and highlights possible interpretations and implications, and it provides links to the original work. Aspects of indoor residual spraying are not included here as they are addressed in another newsletter (http://www.africairs.net). Read on to discover the exciting new contributions to the vector control field.

Palustop: antimalarial suppository from Cameroon for children

December 7, 2015 - 21:17 -- Pierre Lutgen

Rosine D. Chougouo NKuitchou1, Ernest Djoko1, Jonas Kouamouo1, Diane F. Domko1, Pierre Tane2, Denis Wouessidjewe1,3. 

1 Faculty of Pharmacy, Université des Montagnes »P O Box 208 Bangangte, Cameroon 2 Laboratory of Natural Products Chemistry, Faculty of Sciences, University of Dschang P O Box 67 Dschang Cameroon 3 UFR of Pharmacy, Department of Molecular Pharmacochemistry, University of Joseph Fourrier of Grenoble PO Box 53 38041 Grenoble Cedex 9.

 

Does artesunate promote malaria transmission?

December 3, 2015 - 15:34 -- Pierre Lutgen

The amino acid arginine is the only molecule in our food known to generate nitric oxide NO via NOS enzymes. It plays a key role in malaria therapy and cerebral malaria as described in previous blogs on www.malariaworld.org. NO derived from arginine is not only lethal for merozoites but also for gametocytes. NO is efficient against other diseases like leishmaniasis or filariasis (R O’Connor et al., Infection and Immunity, 2000, 68, 6101-6107).

New from MESA: MESA Track One Year Anniversary!

November 27, 2015 - 07:00 -- MESA Alliance

The MESA Track database is now one year old. Thanks to your collaboration, the database has grown to 700 projects over the past year. MESA Track is an open and online platform for sharing information on current research projects relevant to malaria elimination.

More than 25 institutions from across the world have shared their full research portfolio in MESA Track, including institutions working on basic science, product development and operational research.

Zinc and beta-hematin inhibition

November 25, 2015 - 07:52 -- Pierre Lutgen

Our partners at the Al Quds University in Palestine have found that a zinc-arginine complex strongly inhibits beta-hematin crystallization, like quinine does, but that zinc or arginine alone are not effective. Arginine and zinc play an important role in the human physiology. The plants from the Artemisia family are rich in these constituents which play probably a key role against malaria and other diseases. They easily form a complex in a large range of reagent concentrations (E Bottari et al., Monatshefte Chemie 2014, 145, 1707-1714).

Frightening: antibiotics enhance malaria transmission!

November 17, 2015 - 10:54 -- Pierre Lutgen

A blog posted on www.malariaworld.org on June 21. 2014 « Aspirin and artemisinin, beware » and another one on July 8 of the same year « Antiretrovirals and antimalarials : a deadly mix » had already highlighted the fact that drugs sold on a large scale in Africa showed strong antagonism with several antimalarial drugs. ARVs reduce the concentration of artemether , quinine, malarone in the blood. Aspirin has an effect on the endothelium and platelet adherence.

Nitrite therapy for cerebral malaria

November 12, 2015 - 08:34 -- Pierre Lutgen

A paper published twenty years ago should have attracted more attention (NM Anstey et al., J Exp Med 1996, 184, 557-567) : the suppression of NO synthesis in cerebral malaria appears to enhance pathogenesis and increased NO synthesis protects against clinical disease. The work was based on in vivo results obtained in Tanzanian children. Already five years earlier the killing of Plasmodium falciparum in vitro by nitric oxide derivatives (NO, nitrite, nitrate) had been demonstrated (KA Rockett et al., Infection and Immunity, 1991, 59, 3280-3283).

Report: RBM-VCWG Consensus statement on housing and malaria

November 8, 2015 - 16:11 -- Bart G.J. Knols
This Consensus Statement on Housing and Malaria, released this month by the Vector Control Working Group of RBM, aims to review current evidence on the interaction between incremental housing improvements and malaria and to identify opportunities to contribute to global efforts for the control and elimination of malaria in line with the Global Technical Strategy (GTS) and Action and Investment to defeat Malaria (AIM). It is hoped that this docu‐ ment will encourage broader partnerships to realise the full potential of this promising complimentary approach and will help focus the research efforts required. Key actions for endemic countries and their partners are listed in the attached report. 
 
The full report is attached below.

New from MESA: Save the date – February 19-23, 2017 Keystone Symposia

November 6, 2015 - 07:30 -- MESA Alliance

Save the Date for the 2017 Keystone Symposia - February 19-23, 2017, Kampala (Uganda) - conference on:

Malaria: From Innovation to Eradication

Organized in collaboration with MESA, this symposium provides a space for malaria eradication scientists to share new information and advance the scientific debate.

Ammonia, arginine and cerebral malaria

October 31, 2015 - 14:49 -- Pierre Lutgen

Plasmodium falciparum generates substantial amounts of ammonia as a metabolic by-product, but lacks detoxification mechanisms (S Kimoloi et al., Hypothesis and Theory, 2015, 9,article 234). It imports large amounts of glutamine from the host serum. Deamidation and deamination reactions generate two molecules of ammonia per glutamine molecule, particularly in the early trophozoite stages (T Zeuthen et al., Mol Microbiol 2006, 61, 1598-608).

Message from Dr. Pedro Alonso -Director, Global Malaria Programme (WHO)

October 30, 2015 - 07:23 -- Bart G.J. Knols

The message below, from Dr. Pedro Alonso, the Director of WHO's Global Malaria Programme was circulated today, 24 October 2015.

Dear colleagues and partners, 
  
In recent weeks, you may have seen press articles stating that the United Nations and partners are calling on the world to eradicate malaria by the year 2040. 
  
The World Health Organization (WHO) shares the vision of a malaria-free world and – to that end – we welcome the commitment of all of our partners. However, I would like to clarify the strategy, targets and timeline that our organization has endorsed at this point in time. 

Why do novel vector control tools have to be perfect if the RTS,S vaccine isn't?

October 22, 2015 - 21:46 -- Bart G.J. Knols

Last month there was great news for the malaria world: A detailed analysis of the impact of insecticide-treated bednets (LLINs), ACTs, and indoor residual spraying (IRS), showed that some 6.2 million deaths and 700 million cases were averted between 2000-2015, mostly since 2005. Add up the contribution of the vector control components, and it shows that 78% of all the gains originated from just these two tools: LLINs and IRS. Is it safe to draw the conclusion from this that vector control is and shall remain the integral and critical component that will lead us to a world without malaria by 2040? I think the answer to that is 'yes, very much so'.

How to explain the high solubility of artemisinin in Artemisia annua infusions?

October 20, 2015 - 08:37 -- Pierre Lutgen

A review paper published by Frank van der Kooy in 2013 (Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 150, 1-13) revived our interest in the question why the solubility of artemisinin is higher in Artemisia annua infusions than for the pure substance in distilled water.

Solar powered fans, LED lights and mosquitoes

October 14, 2015 - 18:02 -- William Jobin

We need ways to improve the use of bednets because they are so hot to sleep under, and a group in Ghana is working on this. Peter Nardini and some friends from the US Peace Corps are testing a way to sleep comfortably under a bednet by installing small solar-powred fans inside the nets, along with lights and cell-phone battery chargers. Their website is 'Green World Health Net', and they are doing exciting things with these ideas, in a village on the coast of Ghana. You can contact them for info at;

News from MESA: The Armed Forces Pest Management Board (AFPMB) joins the MESA Track database

October 8, 2015 - 17:13 -- MESA Alliance
The Armed Forces Pest Management Board (AFPMB) of the United States Department of Defense, in collaboration with MESA, has included its research portfolio on the MESA Track database. Click here to access the AFPMB portfolio.
 

The ambiguous role of glutathione in malaria

October 3, 2015 - 19:41 -- Pierre Lutgen

Parasites are endowed with powerful and host-independant mechanisms which de novo synthesize or regenerate reduced glutathione (GSH) and protect the parasites from oxidative damage. GSH can penetrate from the extracellular space into the host cytosol but the parasite membrane is impermeable to peptides (H Atamna et al., Eur J Biochem 1997, 15, 670-9).. Glutathione is one of the most powerful anti-oxidants. It is a tripeptide formed by the amino acids glycine, cysteine and glutamic acid. It inhibits the action of arginine which produces NO and expels it from the food vacuole.

In Memoriam: Dr. Alan Magill

September 25, 2015 - 08:38 -- Bart G.J. Knols

It is with profound sadness that we took notice today of the untimely death of Dr. Alan Magill, who headed the malaria programme at the Gates Foundation in Seattle. Below we copy the press release from the Gates Foundation.

I met Alan for the first time in Durban, South Africa, during the MIM meeting in 2013. This was not long after he had taken up his new position at the Gates Foundation. This was the man that everyone out of the 1500+ participants would like to talk to, and it was a great privilege that he took some time to sit down and chat with me. It struck me immediately how pleasant Alan was to interact with. Down-to-earth, direct, and above all with passion did he speak of his mission to free the world of malaria. And I vivdly remember his following words: 'Being with the Foundation now gives me the real opportunity to make a difference in this world'.

The second time we met was when I visited the Foundation in January this year. As ever, Alan was pleasant and at the same time razor sharp. He needed two words to understand your full story. Over lunch his passion got hold of him when he stood up and expressed his frustration that we were all going too slow - that we needed to get new technology to the field quicker. Every live mattered, and waiting would only lead to unnecessary waste of lives. So true.

The world has lost a great malariologist. It is now upon us to follow in his footsteps and end malaria.

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