Last week the Nobel Prize in medicine was shared between three scientists that revolutionised the control of parasitic diseases, notably onchocerciasis, lymphatic filariasis, and ...malaria. It was the Chinese scientist Youyou Tu that received the prize for her work on artemisinin. She thus became the fourth (or fifth?) Nobel Prize winner with a focus on malaria. Who were the others?
The second Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine went to Sir Ronald Ross, for his discovery of the role of mosquitoes in the transmission of malaria. That was back in 1902. Not long afterwards it was Alphonse Laveran, in 1907, who received the prize for his discovery of the malaria parasite and demonstration that it was not a bacterium but a parasitic protozoan that is causing the disease. Then it took several decades for another winner to come forward, Paul Muller, in 1948, for his discovery of the world's most controversial insecticide, DDT. It can be argued, however, that the prize in 1927, for Julius Wagner-Jauregg, was also directly related to malaria, since he discovered that syphilis can be cured with malaria. So it can be debated if this year's Nobel Prize is the 4th or the 5th for malaria...
Interestingly, the recent paper by Bhatt et al. in Nature attributed 68% of all the gains over the last 15 years to LLINs, 22% to ACTs, and 10% to IRS. One could therefore make a case that the discovery of the LLIN would equally qualify for a Nobel Prize...what do you think?
MalariaWorld congratulates Dr. Youyou Tu with this great award, especially so since this Nobel Prize is putting global attention to the cause of parasitic diseases such as malaria.
This week also an announcement from MESA, that the Armed Forces Pesticide Board has joined the MESA track database. Read more here.
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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.
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.
Dear Friends and Colleagues,
On behalf of the MESA Alliance, we wanted to share our heartfelt condolences for the loss of Alan Magill.
Alan held a deep-rooted belief that humankind should and could defeat malaria. He made an extraordinary commitment towards realising this goal.
VectorWorks is pleased to announce the release of a new report, Landscape of New Vector Control Products written by Michael MacDonald. The report covers the spectrum of new vector control products, highlighting descriptions of how each of the tools work; general timelines for their implementation; and limitations of each approach. While these tools are unlikely to be as widely scalable as IRS and ITNs, they are promising components of an Integrated Vector Management strategy.
The report is attached below.
What are the benefits of eradicating malaria, compared to suppressing it?
Eradication is a distant goal, perhaps one not attainable in our lifetime – perhaps never. Even its definition is somewhat vague, as there are so many forms of malaria. However suppression of malaria transmission is real and immediately attainable, something we are actually doing right now, in various degrees.
This month’s report by WHO/UNICEF on ‘Achieving the Malaria MDG Target’ indicated that over 50% of Congolese children sleep under bednets. However these overly optimistic assertions are contradicted by a careful malaria survey conducted in 2007 in 8,000 households in the Congo, which indicated a blood-slide positivity of 33.5% and only 7% of children sleeping under bednets (Molecular malaria epidemiology…… by Taylor et al DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0016420.
200 years ago, in 1830 the anthelmintic properties of santonin were discovered , simultaneously by Dr Kahler in Düsseldorf and Dr Alms in Mecklenburg in a plant from Turkestan, Artemisia cina. Its presence, although at lower concentrations, was later found in Artemisia maritima, Artemisia campesris, Artemisia gallica, Artemisia absinthium, Artemisia sieberi. (Berichte der Deutschen Chemischen Gesellschaft , 1867, Vol 6, 875-1670). Stanislao Cannizzaro is known widely for his , "Sunto di un corso di filosofia chimica", on santonin which he presented at the Karlsruhe Congress of 1860.
I fully support the conclusions of Solomon Kibret and colleagues about the health impact of dams in the tropics, especially regarding diseases transmitted by mosquitoes and aquatic snails.
REF just published in Malaria Journal - Malar J. 2015; 14: 339. Published online 2015 Sep 4. doi: 10.1186/s12936-015-0873-2 PMCID: PMC4560078
The title is : Malaria impact of large dams in sub-Saharan Africa: maps, estimates and predictions
by Solomon Kibret,corresponding author and Jonathan Lautze, Matthew McCartney, G. Glenn Wilson, and Luxon Nhamo.
In 1957 the University of London found that dietary cod liver oil suppressed the multiplication of Plasmodium berghei in mice (DG Godfrey, Experimental Parasitology, 1957, 6, 555-565), of Babesia rodhaini (DG Godfrey, Experimental Parasitology 1957, 6-5, 465-485) and of Trypanosoma congolense (D G Godfrey , Experimental Parasitology, 1958, 3, 255-268).
Once a scientific paper is published online and you can download a pdf of it, this addictive and magnificent feeling gets on to you. This is the fruit of all the hard work: first to get the funding to undertake the research, then the hard work to actually perform all the research, then the hard work to write up the manuscript, then the submission, the reviews, the rebuttal, and eventually acceptance followed by proof reading and then publication. The route from thinking up research to publishing about it is long, tedious, and really hard work. But why don't we ever talk about this route? Why do we publish our papers but don't tell our peers more about how we got there? The fun parts, the sweat and tears, or even the fights? This week we published an article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA (PNAS; attached below). And here's the story you don't know when you read the paper...
I invite you to help me imagine a solid and realistic approach to malaria control in Africa, rather than continuing our criticism of the current poorly focussed and unsustainable attempts by WHO, RBM and the US PMI. I think we need a permanent Institute where African malaria people can develop, implement and expand anti-malarial measures. Because the current emphasis on drugs, biocides and bednets is inherently unsustainable, let us take a more sensible and rational approach which utilizes ecological changes.
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.
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.
BBC NEWS | Health, 24 July 2015
By: Fergus Walsh, Medical correspondent
Introducing rapid diagnostic tests in Ugandan drug shops improves treatment of malaria patients
Using malaria rapid diagnostic tests (RDT) in registered drug shops in a highly endemic region in Uganda substantially reduced overdiagnosis of malaria, improving the use of valuable malaria drugs, according to a new study published in PLOS ONE.
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.
Help us to win the Social Media 'Malaria Heroes' Award 2015
More than four years after the publication of the Malaria Eradication Research Agenda (malERA), which identified knowledge gaps and tools that will be needed to eradicate malaria, the Malaria Eradication Scientific Alliance (MESA) is leading a consultative process to assess the progress made, examine current hypotheses and identify priority research areas in the next 5-10 years.
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.
Candidate vaccines based on injectable Plasmodium falciparum (Pf) sporozoites (SPZ), are being developed and tested. These include PfSPZ Vaccine, in which the PfSPZ are attenuated by irradiation; PfSPZ-CVac, in which fully infectious PfSPZ, PfSPZ Challenge, are attenuated in vivo by an anti-malarial drug, to allow only liver stage parasites to grow, and PfSPZ-GA1, in which the PfSPZ are attenuated by gene deletions.