Issue 3- 5 May 2021
Wednesday, 05 May 2021
Charles Darwin University
E-news
New research by the Menzies School of Health Research malaria team is identifying innovative new ways to eliminate P. vivax malaria  Photo: Pearl Gan
New research by the Menzies School of Health Research malaria team is identifying innovative new ways to eliminate P. vivax malaria Photo: Pearl Gan

Finding innovative solutions to eliminate vivax malaria by 2030

New research by Menzies School of Health Research malaria team is identifying new ways to eliminate the most widespread form of malaria by 2030.

There were an estimated 14.3 million global cases of Plasmodium vivax (P. vivax) malaria in 2017 with most cases occurring in young children living in remote communities with poor access to healthcare services.

Menzies researchers have been looking at a multi-faceted approach to decrease the incidence of P.vivax malaria from new treatment plans to identifying genetic markers and using other new tools for surveillance of the parasite.

Menzies principal research fellow Associate Professor Kamala Thriemer said that one of the factors that makes P. vivax more difficult to treat is that the malaria parasite can remain dormant in the liver, even if it is no longer present in a person’s blood.

“Many patients who are only treated for the acute blood stages of vivax malaria may relapse when those dormant parasites awaken,” Associate Professor Thriemer said.

“But timely elimination of vivax malaria will require widespread access to a safe and effective radical cure.”

“New regimens for radical cure and minimising the risk of red blood cell destruction, or haemolysis, through novel testing bring up operational challenges, but used wisely they could have sufficient impact to eliminate P. vivax malaria,” she said.

Joint leader of the Menzies malaria research team Professor Ric Price said that the team’s research findings will advance the treatment and diagnosis of vivax malaria.

“At this stage of malaria control, the major goals are to diagnose and treat individuals in residual pockets where it is endemic, identify imported cases and monitor for evidence of local transmission,” Professor Price said.

“Innovative and robust new tools and networks bringing countries together to share knowledge and tools will be critical to strengthen efforts to eliminate malaria by 2030,” he said.