New studies reveal the origin of complex malaria infections, The new single-cell genome sequencing technology that causes malaria has brought some surprising results and paved the way for new strategies to combat this deadly infectious disease.
Malaria is caused by the Plasmodium parasite, which is transmitted by humans when infected with the Anopheles mosquito.
This technology isolates individual malaria parasitic cells and strengthens their genomes before being analyzed by genome sequencers. Single cell sequencing has enabled researchers to identify genetic mutations that exist in a single cell and have been adopted by cancer researchers to understand how tumors develop. This is the first time technology has been used to study malaria transmission.
An international team is studying individual cells infected with malaria from malaria patients in Malawi, a country heavily affected by this infectious disease. Malaria patients who donated blood samples infected with malaria for this study lived in Chikhwawa, an area with a large mosquito population.
In this region, people can be bitten by mosquitoes infected with malaria every 48 hours.
The single cell sequencing approach used in this study provides a new picture of how often mosquito bites cause malaria infections. What researchers find is contrary to traditional wisdom. Almost all infections examined may be caused by a single mosquito bite.
We have found that complex malaria infections are mainly caused by single mosquito bites that transmit many genetically different parasites but are related to the patient’s bloodstream.
Knowing this will enable scientists to develop more effective measures to curb the spread of mosquito malaria, and to develop more sophisticated models for predicting the spread of resistance to malaria drugs and models for transmitting malaria.
Increased resistance to malaria is a major threat to global malaria control because resistance to artemisinin and piperin malaria drugs continues to spread.
According to the World Health Organization, malaria infects around 200 million people worldwide every year and kills more than 400,000 people, most of them children.