Bilharzia, schistosomiasis, snail fever, is a disease caused by parasitic worms of the Schistosoma type. It may infect the urinary tract or the intestines. Signs and symptoms may include abdominal pain, diarrhea, bloody stool, or blood in the urine. In those who have been infected for a long time, liver damage, kidney failure, infertility, or bladder cancer may occur. Schistosomiasis affects almost 210 million people worldwide, and an estimated 200,000 people die from it a year,
A team of medical doctors and traditional healers in the Eastern part of the DR Congo just completed the first part of clinical trials studying the efficacy of Artemisia annua against gametocytes. The trials were following a protocol based on the procedures recommended by WHO and are coordinated with a team of medical doctors from France.
Polyphenols are a large group of antioxidants naturally known for their protective effect against oxygen metabolites, acting as free radical scavengers. In contrast to the beneficial effects it has recently been reported that some polyphenols may promote oxidative damage. These harmful effects are suspected to result from a pro-oxidant action.
When IBM dominated the computer world in the 1970s, an expression arose ‘No-one was ever fired for buying IBM’, even though competitors’ machines may have been more suitable for the task. Has a similar attitude now arisen towards bednets by those considering malaria elimination? Is the default position with regard to malaria elimination ‘No-one ever gets fired for buying mosquito bednets’? By 1970, Malaria was eliminated in North America and Europe. Were bednets extensively used there?
Although resistance is increasing at an exponential rate, synthetic pyrethroids remain the only recommended insecticides for mosquito nets. One may wonder what the reasons behind this monopoly are : incompetence or business ?
After some important research work had been done some 30 years ago on amino acids, the impact these molecules might have on a vast array of diseases has been neglected. But there is increasing evidence that the amino acid proline plays an important role in the virulence mechanism of human and mammalian pathogens.
The quest for the anti-malaria ‘silver-bullet’/’magic-bullet’ drug or vaccine. Has this confused, distracted, mesmerised or misled the practical (cf theoretical lab-based) anti-malaria scientists?
Google’s definition of ‘Silver Bullet’ includes “ A simple remedy or a quick solution for a difficult problem”. Simple. Quick. And its definition of ‘Magic Bullet’ includes “A drug or treatment that cures a disease quickly and easily without producing bad effects”. Quickly. Easily.
Tomnod has teamed up with the University of California San Francisco's Malaria Elimination Initiative to develop a population map of Swaziland to assist in planning and implementing malaria elimination activities.
Tomnod uses DigitalGlobe satellite imagery to engage online volunteers to scan small portions of a large area. The volunteers scan the imagery and mark locations of interest to that particular survey. In this case the survey is looking for villages across Swaziland. When buildings are spotted by a volunteer in a polygon, that polygon is marked.
As most of the people suffering from malaria are living in French speaking countries we post also a French version
Les plantes de la grande famille des armoises sont utilisées comme herbes médicinales depuis des millénaires dans toutes les régions du monde.
L’Artemisia annua est venue sous les feux de la rampe lors de la guerre du Vietnam.
The large family of Artemisia plants have been used as herbal medicine for millenniums in all regions of the world.
Amino-acids in Artemisia annua have barely been studied. The analytical data published by EA Brisibe and J Ferreira date back to 2009 (Food Chemistry, 2009, 115, 1240-1246). Their role in malaria infections has been ignored, except for a study published in Japan (DT Uyen et al., Biol Pharm Bull. 2008, 31, 1483-1488). To gain insight into the mechanism of malarial haemozoin formation, they examined the effects of amino acids on beta hematin formation in vitro. Surprisingly some of these amino acids like arginine, histidine, lysine showed a significant inhibition.
Luteolin (3′,4′,5′,7′-tetrahydroxyflavone) is a widespread flavonoid aglycon structurally related to quercetin. The ethnobotanical use of this flavone includes applications in the treatment of cough, diarrhea, dysentery, diabetes, cancer and malaria.
Moringa oleifera is called the „miracle tree“, and has a strong reputation for curing many diseases, but it is impossible to find any peer reviewed paper on PubMed which describes antimarial properties for this plant. This probably does not exclude the presence in the plant of a few molecules which could demonstrate antiplasmodial properties in vitro.
Dry leaves of the plant do not inhibit beta-hematin (G Mergeai, personal communication) in the assay which is often used to screen for antimalarials.
On 7th August 2012, Bart Knols brought to our attention a lecture by Margaret Heffernan entitled ‘Dare to Disagree’, and which can be seen at http://www.malariaworld.org/blog/margaret-heffernan-must-see-all-mw-subscribers . Margaret Heffernan spoke amongst other things about a scientist, Alice Stewart, who, in the 1950s, investigated and demonstrated the incidence of childhood cancer and its connection with the practice of X-raying pregnant women.
On October 23 , 2014 WHO issued a recommandation (www.who.int/elena/titles/zinc_diarrhoea) stating that mothers, other caregivers and health workers should provide children with 20 mg per day of zinc supplementation for 10-14 days (10 mg per day for infants under the age of six months).
LLIN, new products and the impact of/ on insecticide resistance
In the past 15 years malaria mortality and morbidity rates have been halved. This owes not least to insecticide based interventions and in particular the Long Lasting Insecticidal Net (LLIN). In recent years increased findings of insecticide resistance have caused serious concerns whether these advances are threatened, although how much and how to respond remain topics for discussion.
Mosquitoes are progressively becoming resistant to industrial repellents and insecticides. This is the case for pyrethroids used on bednets.
Most of these products are expensive and African households cannot afford their purchase.
Plants, their extracts and their essential oils have been used during centuries to fight aggressive mosquitoes responsible for malaria, dengue, sleeping sickness but also insects acting as vectors for many other diseases.
Most research work on Artemisia annua has ignored saponins and polysaccharides because these are only soluble in water and in the search of the golden fleece or the exceptional antimalarial molecule most extracts are obtained with organic solvents.
Saponins are found in many plants, often in desert plants and are also present in some marine organisms. Most medicinal plants are rich in saponins, which to a large extent are responsible for their bitterness. In fact saponins protect plants from phytopathogenic microorganisms, phytophagous mammalian and insects.
Three diseases at least are caused by mycobacteria : leprosy, tuberculosis and Buruli ulcer. Iron is a prerequisite for the growth of mycobacteria. It is a cofactor for numerous enzymes encoded in the mycobacterium genome. It is required for the cytochromes involved in electron transport. It has been estimated that 7 to 64 g Fe per kg of mycobacterial cell mass is required to support growth. Iron limitation in vitro to levels below these results in growth restriction in many species of mycobacteria, such as M.tuberculosis.
This article will focus on the improved likelihood of a successful outcome where malaria elimination is conducted by scientists who live in the affected area. The blog by Alvaro Pemartin of 22nd January 2015 entitled "Column: Public health concerns (too) far away from home. Who cares?" is both instructive and fascinating. He showed statistics that revealed the global burden of swine flu, avian flu and ebola is far lower than the losses caused by malaria. He demonstrated that the media seems to overlook this point.
In a country in the center of Africa two plants producing the same palm oil based cosmetic products and belonging to the same shareholder have established for the first quarter 2015 the balance of their health care costs. The first plant employs 168 people, the second 458 people. In the first plant the total health care costs per employee are 6.1 times lower than in the second. In the first plant people have been convinced a few years ago that regular consumption of Artemisia annua tea could be prophylactic and beneficial for several diseases, particularly for malaria.
As is seen from the picture below, the national malaria elimination campaign, begun in 1922 in Palestine, clearly worked.
For different aspects of this campaign generally, see Aspects of the malaria elimination .
But in particular, for what was so unique that made this malaria elimination so durable, see Durability .
A strange feature of plants from the Artemisia family is that they do not contain ascorbic acid (vitamin C)
Iron supplements and malaria
Many low and middle-income communities still lack affordable and scalable solutions for their priority health needs. We are aiming to improve generation of new ideas and technological innovation by early-career researchers in Africa, specifically in the health sector. As a step in the process, we wish to conduct an analysis of expert opinion on best strategies for encouraging these early-career scientists so that they can better identify priority health problems in their communities, and generate new ideas to address these problems.
Selenium is an essential trace element in human health and disease. It is currently a subject of intense interest and appears to play a key role in malaria. Selenium has important health effects related to the immune response. It appears to be a key nutrient in counteracting the development of virulence and inhibiting HIV progression to AIDS. In the context of health effects, low selenium status in some parts of the world, notably in Africa, is giving cause for concern.
Selenium and immunity
We've had a good start to the new year here at the Cochrane Infectious Diseases Group (https://cidg.cochrane.org/), with one new Cochrane Review and one new Cochrane Protocol published, which may be of interest to Malaria World members.
2015, Issue 1 (Cochrane Reviews and Protocols published 1 to 31 January 2015):
New Cochrane Review: Intermittent preventive antimalarial treatment for children with anaemia (Athuman M, Kabanywanyi AM, Rohwer AC)
The association ACECI in Burundi (www.aceci.org) has developed a mosquito repellent based on Nepeta cataria (catmint in english, cataire en français, Katzenminze auf deutsch). The study by local students in medicine in collaboration with Montreal’s Ecole Polytechnique together with the Government of Burundi showed that catnip oil reduced the number of bites from mosquitoes by 91.7%. The trial involved 60 volunteers.
Over the years IFBV-BELHERB accumulated puzzling data concerning Artemisia annua grown on the Bamileke plateau in Cameroon.
Among all the clinical trials we have run in several countries, the infusion from Cameroon gave probably the best results (Rosine Chougouo et al, Proceedings MIM Conf, Nairobi, Kenya, 2 Nov 2009, no 312). The results of the comparative study showed a significantly higher sensistivity for the Artemisia annua concoction (0% late therapeutic failure), much better than 12.5 % for artesunate and 14.3% for artesunate-amodiaquine.
Many anecdotical or scientific results indicate that leaves and stems of Artemisia annua have different therapeutical properties, often higher for leaves, sometimes lower.
Our efforts so far to elucidate key factors explaining these differences have failed. Artemisinin, polyphenols, essential oils are higher in leaves, scopoletin sometimes lower. If the therapeutical properties against malaria, bacteria or nematodes, really are proportional to the concentration of these organic key constituants the healing power of stems should be close to zero.