Call edition 2012
A new edition of the Prize of the Belgian Development Cooperation has been launched. This call is open until March 31st, 2011. You can read in the regulations whether you comply with the criteria for participation.
Every year the infectious malaria falciparum causes millions of clinical cases, most of them fatal. Peru has recently seen a considerable rise in numbers, attributable to both environmental factors and increasing drug-resistance. In order to set up effective control systems the genetic diversity of the etiologic agent Plasmodium falciparum needs to be analysed. It has been observed that in endemic areas where genetic complexity is low the protective immune response acts more rapidly, leading to an increased risk of spread.
Richard Delgado's study examines the genetic diversity of Plasmodium falciparum in patients with uncomplicated malaria in the Amazon region of Peru. He has employed modern molecular biological methods (PCR amplifications of three genes coding for the parasite's membrane antigens). He noted a high genetic diversity, and the low infection complexity supports the observation of rapidly increasing drug resistance in recent monotherapies and the prevalence of monoclonal infections.
This work makes an important contribution to the study of malaria in Peru and the countries around it and can indicate new directions in the treatment of this endemic disease. According to Delgado, Peru ranks second in South America in the number of cases of malaria per year (almost 100,000) and this is a deeply worrying social and economic problem for the country. By means of the methodology described the following recommendations were formulated:
- further characterizations of resistant strains
- evaluation of new medicines
- further epidemiological studies
This can help prevent the further spread of the disease and could be a significant contribution to the improvement of public health in this part of the world.
report: Prof. emeritus M. Claeyssens, Department of Biochemistry, Physiology and Microbiology, Universiteit Gent, Belgium