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Trends in Parasitology

Maria P Rebollo, Moses J Bockarie
Interventions against neglected tropical diseases (NTD), including lymphatic filariasis (LF), scaled up dramatically after the signing of the London Declaration (LD) in 2012. LF is targeted for elimination by 2020, but some countries are considered not on track to meet the 2020 target using the recommended preventive chemotherapy and morbidity management strategies. In this Opinion article we review the prospects for achieving LF elimination by 2020 in the light of the renewed global action against NTDs and the global efforts to achieve the sustainable development goals (SDGs) by 2030...
October 17, 2016: Trends in Parasitology
Benjamin Roche, Virginie Rougeron, Lluis Quintana-Murci, François Renaud, Jessica Lee Abbate, Franck Prugnolle
Malarial infections have long been recognized as a driver of human evolution, as demonstrated by the influence of Plasmodium falciparum on sickle-cell anemia persistence. Duffy-negativity is another blood disorder thought to have been selected because it confers nearly complete resistance against Plasmodium vivax infection. Recent evidence suggests that the benefits of being Duffy-negative cannot be expected to play a strong selective pressure on humans, whereas its costs cannot be considered as negligible...
October 17, 2016: Trends in Parasitology
Nicholas J White
Relapse may have evolved in malaria as a mechanism to avoid suppression by more virulent species in mixed infections, thereby increasing transmission opportunities. Later evolution of long latency in Plasmodium vivax was a necessary adaptation as early hominins moved to colder areas with shorter mosquito breeding seasons. Genetic diversity was maintained through heterologous hypnozoite activation.
October 12, 2016: Trends in Parasitology
Hannah C Slater, Lucy C Okell, Azra C Ghani
Mathematical models of the dynamics of a drug within the host are now frequently used to guide drug development. These generally focus on assessing the efficacy and duration of response to guide patient therapy. Increasingly, antimalarial drugs are used at the population level, to clear infections, provide chemoprevention, and to reduce onward transmission of infection. However, there is less clarity on the extent to which different drug properties are important for these different uses. In addition, the emergence of drug resistance poses new threats to longer-term use and highlights the need for rational drug development...
October 7, 2016: Trends in Parasitology
Eduardo de la Torre-Escudero, Adam P S Bennett, Alexzandra Clarke, Gerard P Brennan, Mark W Robinson
The recent discovery that parasites release extracellular vesicles (EVs) that can transfer a range of effector molecules to host cells has made us re-think our understanding of the host-parasite interface. In this opinion article we consider how recent proteomics and transcriptomics studies, together with ultrastructural observations, suggest that more than one mechanism of EV biogenesis can occur in helminths. We propose that distinct EV subtypes have roles in immune modulation and repair of drug-induced damage, and put forward the case for targeting EV biogenesis pathways to achieve parasite control...
October 5, 2016: Trends in Parasitology
Robert R Dunn, Charles L Nunn, Julie E Horvath
Here we coin the term synanthrome to describe all of the species we interact with. We propose that the time is now here for The Global Synanthrome Project to describe all of our interacting species and how they have changed through time and across space. This effort must involve natural history, ecology, and evolutionary biology in addition to genomics studies that are already underway.
October 4, 2016: Trends in Parasitology
Emmanuel Chanda, Birkinesh Ameneshewa, Magaran Bagayoko, John M Govere, Michael B Macdonald
The increasing global threat of emerging and re-emerging vector-borne diseases (VBDs) poses a serious health problem. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends integrated vector management (IVM) strategy for combating VBD transmission. An IVM approach requires entomological knowledge, technical and infrastructure capacity, and systems facilitating stakeholder collaboration. In sub-Saharan Africa, successful operational IVM experience comes from relatively few countries. This article provides an update on the extent to which IVM is official national policy, the degree of IVM implementation, the level of compliance with WHO guidelines, and concordance in the understanding of IVM, and it assesses the operational impact of IVM...
October 3, 2016: Trends in Parasitology
Theodore E Nash, Javier A Bustos, Hector H Garcia
Taenia solium (the pork tapeworm) is present in most developing countries, where it is a frequent cause of seizures and other neurological disease. Parasitic larvae invade the human brain, establish, and eventually resolve, leaving a calcified scar. While these lesions are common in endemic regions, and most of these are clinically silent, a proportion of individuals with calcified cysticerci develop seizures from these lesions, and 30-65% of these cases are associated with perilesional edema (PE), likely due to host inflammation...
October 3, 2016: Trends in Parasitology
Bridget E Barber, Matthew J Grigg, Timothy William, Tsin W Yeo, Nicholas M Anstey
Plasmodium knowlesi occurs across Southeast Asia and is the most common cause of malaria in Malaysia. High parasitaemias can develop rapidly, and the risk of severe disease in adults is at least as high as in falciparum malaria. Prompt initiation of effective treatment is therefore essential. Intravenous artesunate is highly effective in severe knowlesi malaria and in those with moderately high parasitaemia but otherwise uncomplicated disease. Both chloroquine and artemisinin-combination therapy (ACT) are highly effective for uncomplicated knowlesi malaria, with faster parasite clearance times and lower anaemia rates with ACT...
October 1, 2016: Trends in Parasitology
Konstantin Schmidt, Philipp Engel
Gut symbionts are critical for host health and as such might be used as probiotics. In a recent study, Schwarz et al. showed that pretreatment of honey bees with a dominant gut bacterium causes dysbiosis and increases pathogen susceptibility, showing that probiotic applications for animal health can have unwanted effects.
September 30, 2016: Trends in Parasitology
Benjamin L Makepeace, Vincent N Tanya
Although of limited veterinary significance, Onchocerca ochengi has become famous as a natural model or 'analogue' of human onchocerciasis (river blindness), which is caused by Onchocerca volvulus. On the basis of both morphological and molecular criteria, O. ochengi is the closest extant relative of O. volvulus and shares several key natural history traits with the human pathogen. These include exploitation of the same group of insect vectors (blackflies of the Simulium damnosum complex) and formation of collagenous nodules with a similar histological structure to human nodules...
September 21, 2016: Trends in Parasitology
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September 17, 2016: Trends in Parasitology
Ryan C Smith, Carolina Barillas-Mury
Although the ability of mosquitoes to limit Plasmodium infection is well documented, many questions remain as to how malaria parasites are recognized and killed by the mosquito host. Recent evidence suggests that anti-Plasmodium immunity is multimodal, with different immune mechanisms regulating ookinete and oocyst survival. However, most experiments determine the number of mature oocysts, without considering that different immune mechanisms may target different developmental stages of the parasite. Complement-like proteins have emerged as important determinants of early immunity targeting the ookinete stage, yet the mechanisms by which the mosquito late-phase immune response limits oocyst survival are less understood...
September 14, 2016: Trends in Parasitology
Daniel Engelman, L Claire Fuller, Anthony W Solomon, James S McCarthy, Roderick J Hay, Patrick J Lammie, Andrew C Steer
Many neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) affect the skin, causing considerable disability, stigma, and exacerbation of poverty. However, there has been relatively little investment into laboratory research, epidemiology, diagnostic tools or management strategies to control tropical skin disease. Integration may advance the control of skin disease across a range of domains, including mapping, diagnosis, clinical management, and community control measures such as mass drug administration. Examples of successful integration strategies include programs targeting scabies, impetigo, yaws, and diseases causing lymphoedema...
September 13, 2016: Trends in Parasitology
Nahuel Zamponi, Constanza Feliziani, María C Touz
Zumthor et al. recently reported a novel function for clathrin coatomer in Giardia lamblia endocytosis. On the basis of old and new data, we propose an updated model of the participation of clathrin function in this parasite.
September 12, 2016: Trends in Parasitology
Otto Seppälä, Jukka Jokela
Host individuals are often infected with multiple, potentially interacting parasite species and genotypes. Such coinfections have consequences for epidemiology, disease severity, and evolution of parasite virulence. As fitness effects of coinfection can be specific to interacting parasite genotypes, coinfections may induce high fitness variation among parasite genotypes. We argue that such interactions can be an important mechanism maintaining genetic variation in parasite traits such as infectivity and virulence...
September 7, 2016: Trends in Parasitology
Claudia M d'Avila-Levy, Vyacheslav Yurchenko, Jan Votýpka, Philippe Grellier
The vouchered deposit of protist type specimens in institution-maintained collections is a prerequisite for species description, and greatly enhances the chances of sample availability and preservation for future generations. However, specimens are currently most often deposited in personal collections maintained by the individual effort of researchers. We discuss the disadvantages of such a scenario and propose a change to this arrangement.
September 6, 2016: Trends in Parasitology
Michael D Lewis, John M Kelly
In chronic Trypanosoma cruzi infections, parasite burden is controlled by effective, but nonsterilising immune responses. Infected cells are difficult to detect because they are scarce and focally distributed in multiple sites. However, advances in detection technologies have established a link between parasite persistence and the pathogenesis of Chagas heart disease. Long-term persistence likely involves episodic reinvasion as well as continuous infection, to an extent that varies between tissues. The primary reservoir sites in humans are not definitively known, but analysis of murine models has identified the gastrointestinal tract...
September 6, 2016: Trends in Parasitology
Sutherland K Maciver
While some amoebae reproduce sexually, many amoebae (e.g., Acanthamoeba, Naegleria) reproduce asexually and therefore, according to popular doctrine, are likely to have been genetically disadvantaged as a consequence. In the absence of sex, mutations are proposed to accumulate by a mechanism known as Muller's ratchet. I hypothesise that amoebae can escape the ravages of accumulated mutation by virtue of their being polyploid. The polyploid state reduces spontaneous mutation accumulation by gene conversion, the freshly mutated copy being corrected by the presence of the many other wild-type copies...
September 3, 2016: Trends in Parasitology
Alex Betts, Charlotte Rafaluk, Kayla C King
Most hosts and parasites exist in diverse communities wherein they interact with other species, spanning the parasite-mutualist continuum. These additional interactions have the potential to impose selection on hosts and parasites and influence the patterns and processes of their evolution. Yet, host-parasite interactions are almost exclusively studied in species pairs. A wave of new research has incorporated a multispecies community context, showing that additional ecological interactions can alter components of host and parasite fitness, as well as interaction specificity and virulence...
September 2, 2016: Trends in Parasitology
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