Science Current Events | Science News | Brightsurf.com
 

'Benign' malaria key driver of human evolution in Asia-Pacific

September 05, 2012
Their finding challenges the widely-accepted theory that Plasmodium falciparum, which causes the most lethal form of malaria, is the only malaria parasite capable of driving genome evolution in humans. The study was published today in the journal PLOS Medicine.

Professor Ivo Mueller from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute and Barcelona Centre for International Health Research (CRESIB) led the study, with colleagues from the Papua New Guinea Institute of Medical Research, Centre of Global Health and Diseases, US, and the University of Western Australia.

Malaria is a devastating parasitic disease that kills up to one million people a year. It is a major cause of poverty and a barrier to economic development. Approximately half of the world's population is at risk of malaria infection.

"Humans and malaria parasites have been co-evolving for thousands of years," Professor Mueller said. "Malaria has been a major force in the evolution of the human genome, with gene mutations that provide humans with some protection against the disease being preserved through natural selection because they aid in survival."

Professor Mueller said the study has challenged the perception that P. falciparum malaria is the only malaria species that affects human genome evolution. "It has long been assumed that Plasmodium falciparum, the species that causes the most severe disease and most deaths from malaria, is the most important driver of this gene selection in humans," Professor Mueller said. "Our results suggest that P. vivax malaria, though until recently widely considered to be a 'benign' form of malaria, actually causes severe enough disease to provide evolutionary selection pressures in the Asia-Pacific."

Professor Mueller said that the research team was interested in whether P. vivax malaria might be the cause of the unusually high rates of Southeast Asian ovalocytosis (SAO), a hereditary red blood cell disorder, in the Asia-Pacific region. "SAO occurs in approximately 10 to 15 per cent of the population in parts of the South West Pacific and is caused by a hereditary mutation in a single copy of a gene that makes a red blood cell membrane protein. This is almost an absurdly high frequency when you consider that inheriting two copies of the mutation is invariably fatal, so we figured it must confer a strong advantage to the carriers," he said.

The research team looked at the incidence of P. vivax and P. falciparum infections in three studies that included a total of 1975 children in Papua New Guinea aged 0-14 years. "We found that SAO-positive children were significantly protected against P. vivax infection, with 46 per cent reduction of clinical disease in infants with little or no immunity, and 52-55 per cent reduction in the risk of infection in older children. We also saw a significant decrease in parasite numbers in infants and older children, which is linked to a decrease in risk of clinical disease," Professor Mueller said.

The finding could have dramatic implications for future malaria vaccine design and development, Professor Mueller said. "Studying the mechanisms that cause SAO-positive people to be protected against P. vivax malaria could help us to better understand the mechanics of infection and help us to identify better targets for a malaria vaccine," he said.

Walter and Eliza Hall Institute


Related Malaria Current Events and Malaria News Articles


No single cut-off for parasite half-life can define artemisinin-resistant malaria
Data from southeast Asia -- where artemisinin-resistant malaria strains were first detected -- broadly support WHO's 'working definition' for artemisinin resistance, but the currently used definitions require important refinements, according to a study by Lisa White and colleagues, from Mahidol University in Bangkok, Thailand, published this week in PLOS Medicine.

A phone with the ultimate macro feature
If you thought scanning one of those strange, square QR codes with your phone was somewhat advanced, hold on to your seat. Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) have recently developed a device that can turn any smartphone into a DNA-scanning fluorescent microscope.

Model uncovers malaria parasite causes red blood cell changes
A model of a malaria-infected red blood cell may lead to better ways to treat malaria, according to a team of engineers and molecular biologists who investigated how this parasite infection causes the red blood cells to stiffen.

International research team discovers new mechanism behind malaria progression
A team of researchers from four universities has pinpointed one of the mechanisms responsible for the progression of malaria, providing a new target for possible treatments.

The Lancet: Two-thirds of the world's population have no access to safe and affordable surgery
Millions of people are dying from common, easily treatable conditions like appendicitis, fractures, or obstructed labour because they do not have access to, or can't afford, proper surgical care, according to a major new Commission, published in The Lancet.

Have we achieved the millennium development goals?
As the deadline for the millennium development goals approaches, experts writing in The BMJ this week take stock of the successes, failures, and oversights, and look ahead to the next phase - the sustainable development goals.

New therapeutic target for a type of colorectal cancer with poor prognosis has been identified
Researchers at the Institut Hospital del Mar d'Investigacions M®diques (IMIM) have identified a new way of treating colorectal cancer.

Study examines long-term adverse health effects of Ebola survivors
Ebola survivors experienced negative health effects that persisted more than two years after the 2007-2008 Bundibugyo ebolavirus (BDBV) outbreak in Uganda that claimed 39 lives.

New genetic mutation could signal start of malaria drug resistance in Africa
Early indicators of the malaria parasite in Africa developing resistance to the most effective drug available have been confirmed, according to new research published in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy.

Researchers make key malarial drug-resistence finding
According to the World Health Organization's 2014 World Malaria Report, there are an estimated 198 million cases of malaria worldwide with 3.3 billion people at risk for contracting the infection.
More Malaria Current Events and Malaria News Articles

The Malaria Project: The U.S. Government's Secret Mission to Find a Miracle Cure

The Malaria Project: The U.S. Government's Secret Mission to Find a Miracle Cure
by Karen M. Masterson (Author)


A fascinating and shocking historical exposé, The Malaria Project is the story of America's secret mission to combat malaria during World War II—a campaign modeled after a German project which tested experimental drugs on men gone mad from syphilis.

American war planners, foreseeing the tactical need for a malaria drug, recreated the German model, then grew it tenfold. Quickly becoming the biggest and most important medical initiative of the war, the project tasked dozens of the country’s top research scientists and university labs to find a treatment to remedy half a million U.S. troops incapacitated by malaria.

Spearheading the new U.S. effort was Dr. Lowell T. Coggeshall, the son of a poor Indiana farmer whose persistent drive and curiosity led him to become one of...

The Fever: How Malaria Has Ruled Humankind for 500,000 Years

The Fever: How Malaria Has Ruled Humankind for 500,000 Years
by Sonia Shah (Author)


In recent years, malaria has emerged as a cause célèbre for voguish philanthropists. Bill Gates, Bono, and Laura Bush are only a few of the personalities who have opened their pocketbooks in hopes of eradicating the scourge. How does a parasitic disease that we've known how to prevent for more than a century still infect three hundred million people every year, killing nearly one million of them? In The Fever, the journalist Sonia Shah sets out to answer this question, delivering a timely, inquisitive chronicle of the illness and its influence on human lives. The Fever captures the curiously fascinating, devastating history of this long-standing thorn in the side of humanity.

The Making of a Tropical Disease: A Short History of Malaria (Johns Hopkins Biographies of Disease)

The Making of a Tropical Disease: A Short History of Malaria (Johns Hopkins Biographies of Disease)
by Randall M. Packard (Author)


Malaria sickens hundreds of millions of people―and kills one to three million―each year. Despite massive efforts to eradicate the disease, it remains a major public health problem in poorer tropical regions. But malaria has not always been concentrated in tropical areas. How did other regions control malaria and why does the disease still flourish in some parts of the globe?From Russia to Bengal to Palm Beach, Randall Packard’s far-ranging narrative traces the natural and social forces that help malaria spread and make it deadly. He finds that war, land development, crumbling health systems, and globalization―coupled with climate change and changes in the distribution and flow of water―create conditions in which malaria's carrier mosquitoes thrive. The combination of these...

Quinine: Malaria and the Quest for a Cure That Changed the World

Quinine: Malaria and the Quest for a Cure That Changed the World
by Fiammetta Rocco (Author)


Quinine: The Jesuits discovered it. The Protestants feared it. The British vied with the Dutch for it, and the Nazis seized it. Because of quinine, medicine, warfare, and exploration were changed forever.For more than one thousand years, there was no cure for malaria. In 1623, after ten cardinals and hundreds of their attendants died in Rome while electing Urban VII the new pope, he announced that a cure must be found. He encouraged Jesuit priests establishing new missions in Asia and in South America to learn everything they could about how the local people treated the disease, and in 1631, an apothecarist in Peru named Agostino Salumbrino dispatched a new miracle to Rome. The cure was quinine, an alkaloid made from the bitter red bark of the cinchona tree.From the quest of the...

Malaria: The Definitive Guide to Malaria Treatment

Malaria: The Definitive Guide to Malaria Treatment


Everything You Always Wanted To Know About MalariaGet your copy of the fastest selling book by Lacy SwanseaAre you interested in learning about Malaria? Then look no futher. This best-selling guide on Malaria Treatment provides a wealth of information and useful advice about Malaria.Discover what you must know about: Mаӏагіа Pгеνеntіоn Sуmрtоmѕ оf Mаӏагіа Mаӏагіа & Mоѕqυіtоеѕ and Much More!Scroll up and grab a copy today.

Little Things Make Big Differences: A Story about Malaria

Little Things Make Big Differences: A Story about Malaria
by John Nunes (Author)


Little Things Make Big Differences is a story about Rehema, a young girl who lives in the African country of Tanzania. When she was a baby, Rehema was infected with malaria, but because her parents were able to get treatment for her, she survived. In the book, Rehema describes what children in the United States can do to help fight malaria.

One little bite from one mosquito doesn't seem like a big thing, but if that mosquito carries the parasite that causes malaria, its bite can be very serious. Malaria is one of the most common infectious diseases, and it can be deadly. Each year, one million people die of malaria-that's one death every 30 seconds. In Africa, 75 percent of the malaria victims are children. Prevention is not only possible, but it's simple.



Author...

The Malaria Capers: Tales of Parasites and People

The Malaria Capers: Tales of Parasites and People
by Robert S. Desowitz (Author)


"Reads like a murder mystery. . . . [Desowitz] writes with uncommon lucidity and verse, leaving the reader with a vivid understanding of malaria and other tropical diseases, and the ways in which culture, climate and politics have affected their spread and containment."—New York Times Why, Robert S. Desowitz asks, has biotechnical research on malaria produced so little when it had promised so much? An expert in tropical diseases, Desowtiz searches for answers in this provocative book.

Malaria, Poems

Malaria, Poems
by Cameron Conaway (Author)


Malaria kills nearly one million people each year. Hundreds of millions more are sickened by the disease, and many of them are permanently disabled. Billions are spent each year to understand it. Researchers know the molecular details of the interaction between the mosquito and our own red blood cells, and the myriad ways in which malaria impacts the global economy and the advancement of humanity. But what of the public? Though its story is told in thousands of articles and in hundreds of books, many in the developed world are unaware of how prevalent malaria still is. Malaria, Poems testifies to the importance of bridging the chasm between science and art. It adds thread to a tattered and tragic global narrative; it is poetry’s attempt to reawaken care in a cold case that keeps...

End Malaria

End Malaria
by Michael Bungay Stanier (Editor)


End Malaria is more than a book, it’s a great cause.

At least $20 from each copy sold by us goes directly to Malaria No More to send a mosquito net to a family in need and to support life-saving work in the fight against malaria. Malaria No More, an international advocacy organization, is on a mission to end malaria related deaths by 2015.

In addition to saving lives, buying this book means you can enjoy essays by 62 of American’s favorite business authors, including Tom Peters, Nicholas Carr, Pam Slim, and Sir Ken Robinson. Organized into three main sections—Focus, Courage, Resilience—and eight subsections—Tap Your Strengths, Create Freedom, Love & Be Kind, Disrupt Normal, Take Small Steps, Embrace Systems, Get Physical, Collaborate—all essays in End...

The Global Challenge of Malaria : Past Lessons and Future Prospects

The Global Challenge of Malaria : Past Lessons and Future Prospects
by Frank M Snowden (Author), Richard Bucala (Author), Frank M Snowden (Editor), Richard Bucala (Editor)


Malaria is one of the most important "emerging" or "resurgent" infectious diseases. According to the World Health Organization, this mosquito-borne infection is a leading cause of suffering, death, poverty, and underdevelopment in the world today. Every year 500 million people become severely ill from malaria and more than a million people die, the great majority of them women and children living in sub-Saharan Africa. In 2008, it was estimated, a child would die of the disease every thirty seconds, making malaria — together with HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis — a global public health emergency. This is in stark contrast to the heady visions of the 1950s predicting complete global eradication of the ancient scourge. What went wrong? This question warrants a closer look at not just the...

© 2015 BrightSurf.com