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Plasmodium vivax - How hidden reservoirs hinder global malaria elimination.

Angrisano F, Robinson LJ

  • Journal Parasitology international

  • Published 08 Dec 2021

  • Volume 87

  • Pagination 102526

  • DOI 10.1016/j.parint.2021.102526


Plasmodium vivax is the most geographically widespread human malaria parasite. Global malaria efforts have been less successful at reducing the burden of P. vivax compared to P. falciparum, owing to the unique biology and related treatment complexity of P. vivax. As a result, P. vivax is now the dominant malaria parasite throughout the Asia-Pacific and South America causing up to 14 million clinical cases every year and is considered a major obstacle to malaria elimination. Key features circumventing existing malaria control tools are the transmissibility of asymptomatic, low-density circulating infections and reservoirs of persistent dormant liver stages (hypnozoites) that are undetectable but reactivate to cause relapsing infections and sustain transmission. In this review we summarise the new knowledge shaping our understanding of the global epidemiology of P. vivax infections, highlighting the challenges for elimination and the tools that will be required achieve this.