Malaria, the most devastating parasitic disease, is currently treated with artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs). Unfortunately, some ACTs are unable to rapidly clear Plasmodium falciparum parasites from the blood stream and are failing to cure malaria patients; a problem, so far, largely confined to Southeast Asia. There is a fear of resistant Plasmodium falciparum emerging in other parts of the world including Sub-Sahara Africa. Strategies for alternative treatments, ideally non-artemisinin based, are needed.
The emergence of artemisinin-resistant Plasmodium falciparum parasites in Southeast Asia threatens malaria control and elimination. The interconnectedness of parasite populations may be essential to monitor the spread of resistance. Combining a published barcoding system of geographically restricted single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), mainly mitochondria of P. falciparum with SNPs in the K13 artemisinin resistance marker, could elucidate the parasite population structure and provide insight regarding the spread of drug resistance.
Infectious diseases such as tuberculosis (TB), malaria and soil-transmitted helminthiasis continue to impose a significant global health burden and socio-economic impact. Globally, minority indigenous people are disproportionately affected by poverty and are shown to experience a disparate burden of disease and poorer health outcomes than the comparative majority population. Despite these inequalities, countries rarely systematically compile epidemiological data disaggregated by ethnicity to enable the extent of the differential to be quantified.
In Southeast Asia, mutations in the Plasmodium falciparum k13 gene have led to delayed parasite clearance and treatment failures in malaria patients receiving artemisinin combination therapies. Until recently, relevant k13 mutations had been mostly absent from Africa.
Over the last century, malaria deaths have decreased by more than 85%. Nonetheless, there were 405 000 deaths in 2018, mostly resulting from Plasmodium falciparum infection. In the 21st century, much of the advance has arisen from the deployment of insecticide-treated bed nets and artemisinin combination therapy. However, over the past few decades parasites with a delayed artemisinin clearance phenotype have appeared in Southeast Asia, threatening further gains. The effort to find new drugs is thus urgent. A prominent process in blood stage malaria parasites, which we contend remains a viable drug target, is hemozoin formation. This crystalline material consisting of heme can be readily seen when parasites are viewed microscopically.
Multi-pronged malaria elimination strategies are increasingly being considered for accelerating efforts against malaria transmission in Southeast Asia. Two malaria prevention interventions used in in the region are insecticide-treated bed-nets (ITNs) and mass drug administration (MDA). Universal access to ITNs is recommended and high population coverage (e.g. above 80%) is needed during MDA initiatives to maximize the impact of these interventions. However, variability in ITN use and individual MDA participation exists. This systematic review aims to provide a summary and overview of literature discussing factors influencing uptake of these two malaria control strategies in Southeast Asian countries.
Anopheles stephensi originated in Southeast Asia and the Arabian Peninsula. It has recently emerged as an efficient and invasive urban malaria vector. There are three known forms, 'type', 'intermediate', and 'mysorensis', of which the type and intermediate forms are efficient vectors in both rural and urban environments.
Artemisia annua L. has been used for millennia in Southeast Asia to treat “fever”. Many infectious microbial and viral diseases have been shown to respond to A. annua and communities around the world use the plant as a medicinal tea, especially for treating malaria.
Thalassemias are inherited blood disorders that are found in high prevalences in the Mediterranean, Southeast Asia and the Pacific. These diseases provide varying levels of resistance to malaria and are proposed to have emerged as an adaptive response to malaria in these regions. The transition to agriculture in the Holocene has been suggested to have influenced the selection for thalassemia in the Mediterranean as land clearance for farming encouraged interaction between Anopheles mosquitos, the vectors for malaria, and human groups.
Anopheles sinensis is a key disease vector for human malaria and parasitic diseases such as malayan filariasis, and it is considered to be one of the most important malaria vectors in China and Southeast Asia. As high-throughput sequencing and assembly technology are widely used in An. sinensis, a lot of omics data have been generated, and abundant genome, mRNA transcriptome, miRNA transcriptome and resequencing results have been accumulated.