Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Memórias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz]]> vol. 109 num. 5 lang. pt <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[Malaria research in Brazil: we are doing well]]> <![CDATA[Getting ready for malaria elimination: a check list of critical issues to consider]]> In recent years, a renewed interest in malaria elimination and eradication has emerged and seems to be rooting in the minds of the scientific community, public health specialists, funding bodies, policy makers and politicians. Malaria eradication will certainly benefit from improved and innovative tools; notwithstanding novel knowledge in fields ranging from basic science to mathematical modelling and health systems research. However, the elimination of malaria also encompasses a broad range of essential aspects that countries and other actors need to consider when thinking of embarking on such an adventure, including the implementation of innovative strategies, the ability to incorporate the most up-to-date evidence into policy, the integration of malaria into the broader health agenda, the strengthening of surveillance and health systems, capacity building, funding, advocacy and, very importantly, research. While in some cases this enthusiasm is clearly justified, some countries are still a long way from realistically advancing towards elimination. This paper attempts to provide guidance on all the necessary issues that should be considered when initiating a malaria elimination program. <![CDATA[<em>Plasmodium vivax</em> malaria elimination: should innovative ideas from the past be revisited?]]> In the 1950s, the strategy of adding chloroquine to food salt as a prophylaxis against malaria was considered to be a successful tool. However, with the development of Plasmodium resistance in the Brazilian Amazon, this control strategy was abandoned. More than 50 years later, asexual stage resistance can be avoided by screening for antimalarial drugs that have a selective action against gametocytes, thus old prophylactic measures can be revisited. The efficacy of the old methods should be tested as complementary tools for the elimination of malaria. <![CDATA[Malaria on the Guiana Shield: a review of the situation in French Guiana]]> In a climate of growing concern that Plasmodium falciparum may be developing a drug resistance to artemisinin derivatives in the Guiana Shield, this review details our current knowledge of malaria and control strategy in one part of the Shield, French Guiana. Local epidemiology, test-treat-track strategy, the state of parasite drug resistance and vector control measures are summarised. Current issues in terms of mobile populations and legislative limitations are also discussed. <![CDATA[Emerging <em>Plasmodium vivax </em>resistance to chloroquine in South America: an overview]]> The global emergence of Plasmodium vivax strains resistant to chloroquine (CQ) since the late 1980s is complicating the current international efforts for malaria control and elimination. Furthermore, CQ-resistant vivax malaria has already reached an alarming prevalence in Indonesia, East Timor and Papua New Guinea. More recently, in vivo studies have documented CQ-resistant P. vivax infections in Guyana, Peru and Brazil. Here, we summarise the available data on CQ resistance across P. vivax-endemic areas of Latin America by combining published in vivo and in vitro studies. We also review the current knowledge regarding the molecular mechanisms of CQ resistance in P. vivax and the prospects for developing and standardising reliable molecular markers of drug resistance. Finally, we discuss how the Worldwide Antimalarial Resistance Network, an international collaborative effort involving malaria experts from all continents, might contribute to the current regional efforts to map CQ-resistant vivax malaria in South America. <![CDATA[Slow clearance of <em>Plasmodium vivax</em> with chloroquine amongst children younger than six months of age in the Brazilian Amazon]]> Plasmodium vivax is the most widespread parasite causing malaria, being especially prevalent in the Americas and Southeast Asia. Children are one of the most affected populations, especially in highly endemic areas. However, there are few studies evaluating the therapeutic response of infants with vivax malaria. This study retrospectively evaluated the parasitaemia clearance in children diagnosed with vivax malaria during the first five days of exclusive treatment with chloroquine (CQ). Infants aged less than six months old had a significantly slower parasitaemia clearance time compared to the group of infants and children between six months and 12 years old (Kaplan-Meier survival analysis; Wilcoxon test; p = 0.004). The impaired clearance of parasitaemia in younger children with vivax malaria is shown for the first time in Latin America. It is speculated that CQ pharmacokinetics in young children with vivax malaria is distinct, but this specific population may also allow the detection of CQ-resistant parasites during follow-up, due to the lack of previous immunity. <![CDATA[Blood shizonticidal activities of phenazines and naphthoquinoidal compounds against <em>Plasmodium falciparum</em> in vitro and in mice malaria studies]]> Due to the recent advances of atovaquone, a naphthoquinone, through clinical trials as treatment for malarial infection, 19 quinone derivatives with previously reported structures were also evaluated for blood schizonticide activity against the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum. These compounds include 2-hydroxy-3-methylamino naphthoquinones (2-9), lapachol (10), nor-lapachol (11), iso-lapachol (12), phthiocol (13) and phenazines (12-20). Their cytotoxicities were also evaluated against human hepatoma and normal monkey kidney cell lines. Compounds 2 and 5 showed the highest activity against P. falciparum chloroquine-resistant blood-stage parasites (clone W2), indicated by their low inhibitory concentration for 50% (IC50) of parasite growth. The therapeutic potential of the active compounds was evaluated according to the selectivity index, which is a ratio of the cytotoxicity minimum lethal dose which eliminates 50% of cells and the in vitro IC50. Naphthoquinones 2 and 5, with activities similar to the reference antimalarial chloroquine, were also active against malaria in mice and suppressed parasitaemia by more than 60% in contrast to compound 11 which was inactive. Based on their in vitro and in vivo activities, compounds 2 and 5 are considered promising molecules for antimalarial treatment and warrant further study. <![CDATA[G6PD deficiency in Latin America: systematic review on prevalence and variants]]> Plasmodium vivax radical cure requires the use of primaquine (PQ), a drug that induces haemolysis in glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficient (G6PDd) individuals, which further hampers malaria control efforts. The aim of this work was to study the G6PDd prevalence and variants in Latin America (LA) and the Caribbean region. A systematic search of the published literature was undertaken in August 2013. Bibliographies of manuscripts were also searched and additional references were identified. Low prevalence rates of G6PDd were documented in Argentina, Bolivia, Mexico, Peru and Uruguay, but studies from Curaçao, Ecuador, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, Suriname and Trinidad, as well as some surveys carried out in areas of Brazil, Colombia and Cuba, have shown a high prevalence (&gt; 10%) of G6PDd. The G6PD A-202A mutation was the variant most broadly distributed across LA and was identified in 81.1% of the deficient individuals surveyed. G6PDd is a frequent phenomenon in LA, although certain Amerindian populations may not be affected, suggesting that PQ could be safely used in these specific populations. Population-wide use of PQ as part of malaria elimination strategies in LA cannot be supported unless a rapid, accurate and field-deployable G6PDd diagnostic test is made available. <![CDATA[Influence of age on the haemoglobin concentration of malaria-infected patients in a reference centre in the Brazilian Amazon]]> Anaemia is amongst the major complications of malaria, a major public health problem in the Amazon Region in Latin America. We examined the haemoglobin (Hb) concentrations of malaria-infected patients and compared it to that of malaria-negative febrile patients and afebrile controls. The haematological parameters of febrile patients who had a thick-blood-smear performed at an infectious diseases reference centre of the Brazilian Amazon between December 2009-January 2012 were retrieved together with clinical data. An afebrile community control group was composed from a survey performed in a malaria-endemic area. Hb concentrations and anaemia prevalence were analysed according to clinical-epidemiological status and demographic characteristics. In total, 7,831 observations were included. Patients with Plasmodium falciparum infection had lower mean Hb concentrations (10.5 g/dL) followed by P. vivax-infected individuals (12.4 g/dL), community controls (12.8 g/dL) and malaria-negative febrile patients (13.1 g/dL) (p &lt; 0.001). Age, gender and clinical-epidemiological status were strong independent predictors for both outcomes. Amongst malaria-infected individuals, women in the reproductive age had considerably lower Hb concentrations. In this moderate transmission intensity setting, both vivax and falciparum malaria are associated with reduced Hb concentrations and risk of anaemia throughout a wide age range. <![CDATA[Vascular dysfunction as a target for adjuvant therapy in cerebral malaria]]> Cerebral malaria (CM) is a life-threatening complication of Plasmodium falciparum malaria that continues to be a major global health problem. Brain vascular dysfunction is a main factor underlying the pathogenesis of CM and can be a target for the development of adjuvant therapies for the disease. Vascular occlusion by parasitised red blood cells and vasoconstriction/vascular dysfunction results in impaired cerebral blood flow, ischaemia, hypoxia, acidosis and death. In this review, we discuss the mechanisms of vascular dysfunction in CM and the roles of low nitric oxide bioavailability, high levels of endothelin-1 and dysfunction of the angiopoietin-Tie2 axis. We also discuss the usefulness and relevance of the murine experimental model of CM by Plasmodium berghei ANKA to identify mechanisms of disease and to screen potential therapeutic interventions. <![CDATA[Metabolomics in the fight against malaria]]> Metabolomics uses high-resolution mass spectrometry to provide a chemical fingerprint of thousands of metabolites present in cells, tissues or body fluids. Such metabolic phenotyping has been successfully used to study various biologic processes and disease states. High-resolution metabolomics can shed new light on the intricacies of host-parasite interactions in each stage of the Plasmodium life cycle and the downstream ramifications on the host’s metabolism, pathogenesis and disease. Such data can become integrated with other large datasets generated using top-down systems biology approaches and be utilised by computational biologists to develop and enhance models of malaria pathogenesis relevant for identifying new drug targets or intervention strategies. Here, we focus on the promise of metabolomics to complement systems biology approaches in the quest for novel interventions in the fight against malaria. We introduce the Malaria Host-Pathogen Interaction Center (MaHPIC), a new systems biology research coalition. A primary goal of the MaHPIC is to generate systems biology datasets relating to human and non-human primate (NHP) malaria parasites and their hosts making these openly available from an online relational database. Metabolomic data from NHP infections and clinical malaria infections from around the world will comprise a unique global resource. <![CDATA[Antibody recognition of <em>Plasmodium falciparum</em> infected red blood cells by symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals in the Brazilian Amazon]]> In the Amazon Region, there is a virtual absence of severe malaria and few fatal cases of naturally occurring Plasmodium falciparum infections; this presents an intriguing and underexplored area of research. In addition to the rapid access of infected persons to effective treatment, one cause of this phenomenon might be the recognition of cytoadherent variant proteins on the infected red blood cell (IRBC) surface, including the var gene encoded P. falciparum erythrocyte membrane protein 1. In order to establish a link between cytoadherence, IRBC surface antibody recognition and the presence or absence of malaria symptoms, we phenotype-selected four Amazonian P. falciparum isolates and the laboratory strain 3D7 for their cytoadherence to CD36 and ICAM1 expressed on CHO cells. We then mapped the dominantly expressed var transcripts and tested whether antibodies from symptomatic or asymptomatic infections showed a differential recognition of the IRBC surface. As controls, the 3D7 lineages expressing severe disease-associated phenotypes were used. We showed that there was no profound difference between the frequency and intensity of antibody recognition of the IRBC-exposed P. falciparum proteins in symptomatic vs. asymptomatic infections. The 3D7 lineages, which expressed severe malaria-associated phenotypes, were strongly recognised by most, but not all plasmas, meaning that the recognition of these phenotypes is frequent in asymptomatic carriers, but is not necessarily a prerequisite to staying free of symptoms. <![CDATA[The Duffy binding protein as a key target for a <em>Plasmodium vivax</em> vaccine: lessons from the Brazilian Amazon]]> Plasmodium vivax infects human erythrocytes through a major pathway that requires interaction between an apical parasite protein, the Duffy binding protein (PvDBP) and its receptor on reticulocytes, the Duffy antigen/receptor for chemokines (DARC). The importance of the interaction between PvDBP (region II, DBPII) and DARC to P. vivax infection has motivated our malaria research group at Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (state of Minas Gerais, Brazil) to conduct a number of immunoepidemiological studies to characterise the naturally acquired immunity to PvDBP in populations living in the Amazon rainforest. In this review, we provide an update on the immunology and molecular epidemiology of PvDBP in the Brazilian Amazon - an area of markedly unstable malaria transmission - and compare it with data from other parts of Latin America, as well as Asia and Oceania. <![CDATA[Malaria in Brazil: what happens outside the Amazonian endemic region]]> Brazil, a country of continental proportions, presents three profiles of malaria transmission. The first and most important numerically, occurs inside the Amazon. The Amazon accounts for approximately 60% of the nation’s territory and approximately 13% of the Brazilian population. This region hosts 99.5% of the nation’s malaria cases, which are predominantly caused by Plasmodium vivax (i.e., 82% of cases in 2013). The second involves imported malaria, which corresponds to malaria cases acquired outside the region where the individuals live or the diagnosis was made. These cases are imported from endemic regions of Brazil (i.e., the Amazon) or from other countries in South and Central America, Africa and Asia. Imported malaria comprised 89% of the cases found outside the area of active transmission in Brazil in 2013. These cases highlight an important question with respect to both therapeutic and epidemiological issues because patients, especially those with falciparum malaria, arriving in a region where the health professionals may not have experience with the clinical manifestations of malaria and its diagnosis could suffer dramatic consequences associated with a potential delay in treatment. Additionally, because the Anopheles vectors exist in most of the country, even a single case of malaria, if not diagnosed and treated immediately, may result in introduced cases, causing outbreaks and even introducing or reintroducing the disease to a non-endemic, receptive region. Cases introduced outside the Amazon usually occur in areas in which malaria was formerly endemic and are transmitted by competent vectors belonging to the subgenus Nyssorhynchus (i.e., Anopheles darlingi, Anopheles aquasalis and species of the Albitarsis complex). The third type of transmission accounts for only 0.05% of all cases and is caused by autochthonous malaria in the Atlantic Forest, located primarily along the southeastern Atlantic Coast. They are caused by parasites that seem to be (or to be very close to) P. vivax and, in a less extent, by Plasmodium malariae and it is transmitted by the bromeliad mosquito Anopheles (Kerteszia) cruzii. This paper deals mainly with the two profiles of malaria found outside the Amazon: the imported and ensuing introduced cases and the autochthonous cases. We also provide an update regarding the situation in Brazil and the Brazilian endemic Amazon. <![CDATA[Malaria in the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, an Atlantic Forest area: an assessment using the health surveillance service]]> The lethality of malaria in the extra-Amazonian region is more than 70 times higher than in Amazonia itself. Recently, several studies have shown that autochthonous malaria is not a rare event in the Brazilian southeastern states in the Atlantic Forest biome. Information about autochthonous malaria in the state of Rio de Janeiro (RJ) is scarce. This study aims to assess malaria cases reported to the Health Surveillance System of the State of Rio de Janeiro between 2000-2010. An average of 90 cases per year had parasitological malaria confirmation by thick smear. The number of malaria notifications due to Plasmodium falciparum increased over time. Imported cases reported during the period studied were spread among 51% of the municipalities (counties) of the state. Only 35 cases (4.3%) were autochthonous, which represents an average of 3.8 new cases per year. Eleven municipalities reported autochthonous cases; within these, six could be characterised as areas of residual or new foci of malaria from the Atlantic Forest system. The other 28 municipalities could become receptive for transmission reintroduction. Cases occurred during all periods of the year, but 62.9% of cases were in the first semester of each year. Assessing vulnerability and receptivity conditions and vector ecology is imperative to establish the real risk of malaria reintroduction in RJ. <![CDATA[<em>Plasmodium simium/Plasmodium vivax</em> infections in southern brown howler monkeys from the Atlantic Forest]]> Blood infection by the simian parasite, Plasmodium simium, was identified in captive (n = 45, 4.4%) and in wild Alouatta clamitans monkeys (n = 20, 35%) from the Atlantic Forest of southern Brazil. A single malaria infection was symptomatic and the monkey presented clinical and haematological alterations. A high frequency of Plasmodium vivax-specific antibodies was detected among these monkeys, with 87% of the monkeys testing positive against P. vivax antigens. These findings highlight the possibility of malaria as a zoonosis in the remaining Atlantic Forest and its impact on the epidemiology of the disease. <![CDATA[The <em>Plasmodium</em> bottleneck: malaria parasite losses in the mosquito vector]]> Nearly one million people are killed every year by the malaria parasite Plasmodium. Although the disease-causing forms of the parasite exist only in the human blood, mosquitoes of the genus Anopheles are the obligate vector for transmission. Here, we review the parasite life cycle in the vector and highlight the human and mosquito contributions that limit malaria parasite development in the mosquito host. We address parasite killing in its mosquito host and bottlenecks in parasite numbers that might guide intervention strategies to prevent transmission. <![CDATA[The remarkable journey of adaptation of the <em>Plasmodium falciparum</em> malaria parasite to New World anopheline mosquitoes]]> Plasmodium falciparum originated in Africa, dispersed around the world as a result of human migration and had to adapt to several different indigenous anopheline mosquitoes. Anophelines from the New World are evolutionary distant form African ones and this probably resulted in a more stringent selection of Plasmodium as it adapted to these vectors. It is thought that Plasmodium has been genetically selected by some anopheline species through unknown mechanisms. The mosquito immune system can greatly limit infection and P. falciparum evolved a strategy to evade these responses, at least in part mediated by Pfs47, a highly polymorphic gene. We propose that adaptation of P. falciparum to new vectors may require evasion of their immune system. Parasites with a Pfs47 haplotype compatible with the indigenous mosquito vector would be able to survive and be transmitted. The mosquito antiplasmodial response could be an important determinant of P. falciparum population structure and could affect malaria transmission in the Americas. <![CDATA[<em>Anopheles gambiae</em> eicosanoids modulate <em>Plasmodium berghei</em> survival from oocyst to salivary gland invasion]]> Eicosanoids affect the immunity of several pathogen/insect models, but their role on the Anopheles gambiae response to Plasmodium is still unknown. Plasmodium berghei-infected mosquitoes were injected with an eicosanoid biosynthesis inhibitor, indomethacin (IN), or a substrate, arachidonic acid (AA), at day 7 or day 12 post-infection (p.i.). Salivary gland invasion was evaluated by sporozoite counts at day 21 p.i. IN promoted infection upon sporozoite release from oocysts, but inhibited infection when sporozoites were still maturing within the oocysts, as observed by a reduction in the number of sporozoites reaching the salivary glands. AA treatment had the opposite effect. We show for the first time that An. gambiae can modulate parasite survival through eicosanoids by exerting an antagonistic or agonistic effect on the parasite, depending on its stage of development. <![CDATA[Metagenomics, paratransgenesis and the <em>Anopheles</em> microbiome: a portrait of the geographical distribution of the anopheline microbiota based on a meta-analysis of reported taxa]]> Anophelines harbour a diverse microbial consortium that may represent an extended gene pool for the host. The proposed effects of the insect microbiota span physiological, metabolic and immune processes. Here we synthesise how current metagenomic tools combined with classical culture-dependent techniques provide new insights in the elucidation of the role of the Anopheles-associated microbiota. Many proposed malaria control strategies have been based upon the immunomodulating effects that the bacterial components of the microbiota appear to exert and their ability to express anti-Plasmodium peptides. The number of identified bacterial taxa has increased in the current “omics” era and the available data are mostly scattered or in “tables” that are difficult to exploit. Published microbiota reports for multiple anopheline species were compiled in an Excel® spreadsheet. We then filtered the microbiota data using a continent-oriented criterion and generated a visual correlation showing the exclusive and shared bacterial genera among four continents. The data suggested the existence of a core group of bacteria associated in a stable manner with their anopheline hosts. However, the lack of data from Neotropical vectors may reduce the possibility of defining the core microbiota and understanding the mosquito-bacteria interactive consortium. <![CDATA[Is there an efficient trap or collection method for sampling <em>Anopheles darlingi</em> and other malaria vectors that can describe the essential parameters affecting transmission dynamics as effectively as human landing catches? - A Review]]> Distribution, abundance, feeding behaviour, host preference, parity status and human-biting and infection rates are among the medical entomological parameters evaluated when determining the vector capacity of mosquito species. To evaluate these parameters, mosquitoes must be collected using an appropriate method. Malaria is primarily transmitted by anthropophilic and synanthropic anophelines. Thus, collection methods must result in the identification of the anthropophilic species and efficiently evaluate the parameters involved in malaria transmission dynamics. Consequently, human landing catches would be the most appropriate method if not for their inherent risk. The choice of alternative anopheline collection methods, such as traps, must consider their effectiveness in reproducing the efficiency of human attraction. Collection methods lure mosquitoes by using a mixture of olfactory, visual and thermal cues. Here, we reviewed, classified and compared the efficiency of anopheline collection methods, with an emphasis on Neotropical anthropophilic species, especially Anopheles darlingi, in distinct malaria epidemiological conditions in Brazil. <![CDATA[A decade of malaria during pregnancy in Brazil: what has been done concerning prevention and management]]> In Brazil, malaria remains a disease of major epidemiological importance because of the high number of cases in the Amazonian Region. Plasmodium spp infections during pregnancy are a significant public health problem with substantial risks for the pregnant woman, the foetus and the newborn child. In Brazil, the control of malaria during pregnancy is primarily achieved by prompt and effective treatment of the acute episodes. Thus, to assure rapid diagnosis and treatment for pregnant women with malaria, one of the recommended strategy for low transmission areas by World Health Organization and as part of a strategy by the Ministry of Health, the National Malaria Control Program has focused on integrative measures with woman and reproductive health. Here, we discuss the approach for the prevention and management of malaria during pregnancy in Brazil over the last 10 years (2003-2012) using morbidity data from Malaria Health Information System. Improving the efficiency and quality of healthcare and education and the consolidation of prevention programmes will be challenges in the control of malaria during pregnancy in the next decade.