A survey conducted at the School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in London (England) in collaboration with researchers from the Institute for Biomedical Sciences (ICB-USP) at the University of São Paulo could help find new treatments for vaccines and vivax for malaria, which accounts for 80% of cases in Brazil. responsible.
From genetic sequencing of more than 500 samples of protozoa Plasmodium vivax From 25 endemic regions, mainly South Asia and East Africa, scientists have identified genetic variations and a series of mutations that increase the parasite’s infectivity and resistance to antimalarial drugs. The results were published in the journal Nature Communications.
The study indicates that sequenced isolates from South Asia behave as parasitic subpopulations, different from other parts of the world, with only certain characteristics of parasitic genomes from East Africa and Southeast Asia. In addition, positive selection signals associated with drug resistance were also observed.
“The population structure of this species is directly related to the development and spread of immunity to parasites in a given region. The continued emergence of new mutations is responsible for the increase in resistance to current antimalarial agents, further exacerbating the disease prevention situation, ”the professor explains. Claudio Marinho, one of the study coordinators and head of the ICB-USP Experimental Immunoparasitology Laboratory.
The researcher Jamille Dombrowski, postdoctoral and FAPESP Scholarship, took part directly in the rehearsals in London.
In an interview with the ICB-USP Communications Department, he highlighted the importance of fighting vivax malaria, as well as falciparum, the most serious type of disease: “In recent years, we have seen a decrease in the number of cases per infection. P. falciparum, as more attention is paid to combating this parasite, but the increase in cases P. vivax. In several countries, especially where P. vivax resistant to chloroquine, treatment systems using artemisinin are already commonly used. This is very worrying as it is the strongest medicine against the disease ”.
Malaria during pregnancy
Marinho’s laboratory is studying the effects of vivax malaria in pregnant women in Acre, where the disease is endemic, and has collaborated with London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine research on blood samples from infected pregnant women.
“It is important to have samples from different regions for comparison. This global analysis represents a breakthrough in understanding ancestry and genomic composition P. vivax Around the world. It also makes it possible to monitor the impact of disease eradication programs on parasite populations, ”explains Dombrowski.
The work is nearing completion and it is FAPESP funding. Dombrowski said he was optimistic about the results. “The study of malaria is quite complex and pregnant women need special attention. The best understanding of genetics P. vivax in this population, it is another tool for us to fight the disease and thus develop better strategies to reduce the impact on the mother and baby. “
Article Distinctive genetic structure and selection patterns in Plasmodium vivax from South Asia and East Africa can be scanned www.nature.com/articles/s41467-021-23422-3.