Vector OF Malaria
Malaria parasites are transmitted to human hosts by female mosquitoes of the genus Anopheles. A diverse group of Anopheles (30 to 40 species) serves as vectors of human disease. Several physiological, behavioral, and ecological characteristics determine how effective various Anophelesspecies are as vectors of malaria.
Malaria pathogenesis is the process by which malaria parasites cause illness, abnormal function, or damage in their human hosts. “Uncomplicated” malaria entails a series of recurring episodes of chills, intense fever, and sweating and sometimes includes other symptoms such as headache, malaise, fatigue, body aches, nausea, and vomiting.
In some cases, and especially in groups such as children and pregnant women, the disease can progress to “severe malaria,” including complications such as cerebral malaria/coma, seizures, severe anemia, respiratory distress, kidney and liver failure, cardiovascular collapse, and shock. Long-term impacts include death, disability, and significant socioeconomic burden on societies where the disease is prevalent. A better understanding of the biological processes underlying the progression of infection to disease is urgently needed to reduce the morbidity and mortality of malaria.
Over the past serveral years, the completion of several genome projects related to malaria has marked the beginning of a new era of malaria research.W.H.O.supported researchers have sequenced the genomes of above 14 more Anopholine mosquito species, including the Anopheles gambiae mosquito, a major malaria vector, and more than 100 isolates of both Plasmodium falciparum, the deadliest malaria parasite, and Plasmodium vivax, the most widespread malaria parasite. These accomplishments, in conjunction with National Institutes of Health-funded sequencing of the human genome, have provided scientists with unprecedented information on complete sets of human, parasite, and mosquito genes. Through such advances, as well as ongoing and planned genomics projects on additional parasites and vectors, hopes to supply scientists with the tools needed to identify targets for effective disease interventions.
The interaction between the Plasmodium parasite and host immune system during infection strikes a tenuous balance. The relationship can elicit protective immunity or trigger harmful immune responses. The complex nature of both the malaria parasite and the human immune response has made it difficult to unravel the mechanisms of protection or pathology in humans. An improved understanding of the immunology of malaria is likely to provide key insights into ways to enhance human immunity while reducing disease pathogenesis.
Epidemiological data is critical to both developing novel vaccines and drugs and implementing effective control and prevention programs. Understanding malaria on a population level and determining the biological, behavioral, and environmental factors that influence malaria epidemiology and transmission are especially important as the global community strengthens anti-malaria efforts.