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Biological Mechanism of Plasmodium vivax Commitment to Liver Stage Dormancy

Lemu Golassa of Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia and Laurent Dembele of University of Science, Techniques and Technology of Bamako in Mali will analyze the malaria-causing parasite Plasmodium vivax to identify molecules that enable it to transform into a dormant hypnozoite form in the liver, which is thought to be the key obstacle to malaria elimination. In many regions, P. vivax has become the dominant species causing malaria, resisting eradication due to this dormant liver stage of infection where it is resistant to most existing drugs and still a major cause of disease. Understanding how P. vivax forms hypnozoites could help develop more effective malaria drugs. They will isolate P. vivax from human blood and use cultured liver cells to evaluate their ability to form hypnozoites. Transcriptional profiling on these different isolates should reveal the molecular markers that enable P. vivax to form hypnozoites, which could be used as drug targets.

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