Displaying all 11 publications

  1. Ta TH, Hisam S, Lanza M, Jiram AI, Ismail N, Rubio JM
    Malar J, 2014;13:68.
    PMID: 24564912 DOI: 10.1186/1475-2875-13-68
    Since 1960, a total of seven species of monkey malaria have been reported as transmissible to man by mosquito bite: Plasmodium cynomolgi, Plasmodium brasilianum, Plasmodium eylesi, Plasmodium knowlesi, Plasmodium inui, Plasmodium schwetzi and Plasmodium simium. With the exception of P. knowlesi, none of the other species has been found to infect humans in nature. In this report, it is described the first known case of a naturally acquired P. cynomolgi malaria in humans.The patient was a 39-year-old woman from a malaria-free area with no previous history of malaria or travel to endemic areas. Initially, malaria was diagnosed and identified as Plasmodium malariae/P. knowlesi by microscopy in the Terengganu State Health Department. Thick and thin blood films stained with 10% Giemsa were performed for microscopy examination. Molecular species identification was performed at the Institute for Medical Research (IMR, Malaysia) and in the Malaria & Emerging Parasitic Diseases Laboratory (MAPELAB, Spain) using different nested PCR methods.Microscopic re-examination in the IMR showed characteristics of Plasmodium vivax and was confirmed by a nested PCR assay developed by Snounou et al. Instead, a different PCR assay plus sequencing performed at the MAPELAB confirmed that the patient was infected with P. cynomolgi and not with P. vivax.This is the first report of human P. cynomolgi infection acquired in a natural way, but there might be more undiagnosed or misdiagnosed cases, since P. cynomolgi is morphologically indistinguishable from P. vivax, and one of the most used PCR methods for malaria infection detection may identify a P. cynomolgi infection as P. vivax.Simian Plasmodium species may routinely infect humans in Southeast Asia. New diagnostic methods are necessary to distinguish between the human and monkey malaria species. Further epidemiological studies, incriminating also the mosquito vector(s), must be performed to know the relevance of cynomolgi malaria and its implication on human public health and in the control of human malaria.The zoonotic malaria cannot be ignored in view of increasing interactions between man and wild animals in the process of urbanization.
  2. Miguel-Oteo M, Jiram AI, Ta-Tang TH, Lanza M, Hisam S, Rubio JM
    Asian Pac J Trop Med, 2017 Mar;10(3):299-304.
    PMID: 28442114 DOI: 10.1016/j.apjtm.2017.03.014
    OBJECTIVE: To develop a new technique for diagnosis of Plasmodium knowlesi and at the same time to be able to discriminate among the diverse species of Plasmodium causing human malaria.

    METHODS: In this study the nested multiplex malaria PCR was redesigned, targeting the 18S rRNA gene, to identify the fifth human Plasmodium species, Plasmodium knowlesi, together with the other human Plasmodium (Plasmodium falciparum, Plasmodium vivax, Plasmodium ovale and Plasmodium malariae) by amplified fragment size using only two amplification processes and including an internal reaction control to avoid false negatives.

    RESULTS: The technique was validated with 91 clinical samples obtained from patients with malaria compatible symptoms. The technique showed high sensitivity (100%) and specificity (96%) when it was compared to the reference method employed for malaria diagnosis in the Instituto de Salud Carlos Ⅲ and a published real-time PCR malaria assay.

    CONCLUSIONS: The technique designed is an economical, sensitive and specific alternative to current diagnosis methods. Furthermore, the method might be tested in knowlesi-malaria endemic areas with a higher number of samples to confirm the quality of the method.

  3. Noordin R, Yunus MH, Robinson K, Won KY, Babu S, Fischer PU, et al.
    Am J Trop Med Hyg, 2018 12;99(6):1587-1590.
    PMID: 30350768 DOI: 10.4269/ajtmh.18-0566
    At the end phase of the Global Programme to Eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis, antibody testing may have a role in decision-making for bancroftian filariasis-endemic areas. This study evaluated the diagnostic performance of BLF Rapid™, a prototype immunochromatographic IgG4-based test using BmSXP recombinant protein, for detection of bancroftian filariasis. The test was evaluated using 258 serum samples, comprising 96 samples tested at Universiti Sains Malaysia (in-house) and 162 samples tested independently at three international laboratories in the USA and India, and two laboratories in Malaysia. The independent testing involved 99 samples from Wuchereria bancrofti microfilaria or antigen positive individuals and 63 samples from people who were healthy or had other infections. The in-house evaluation showed 100% diagnostic sensitivity and specificity. The independent evaluations showed a diagnostic sensitivity of 84-100% and 100% specificity (excluding non-lymphatic filarial infections). BLF Rapid has potential as a surveillance diagnostic tool to make "Transmission Assessment Survey"-stopping decisions and conduct post-elimination surveillance.
  4. Saleh Huddin A, Md Yusuf N, Razak MRMA, Ogu Salim N, Hisam S
    Infect Genet Evol, 2019 11;75:103952.
    PMID: 31279818 DOI: 10.1016/j.meegid.2019.103952
    It has been discovered that Plasmodium knowlesi (P. knowlesi) is transmitted from macaque to man. Thus, the aim of the present study was to determine P. knowlesi genetic diversity in both human (n = 147) and long-tailed macaque (n = 26) samples from high- and low-endemicity localities. Genotyping was performed using seven neutral microsatellite loci markers. The size of the alleles, multiplicity of infection (MOI), mean number of alleles (Na), expected heterozygosity (HE), linkage disequilibrium (LD), and genetic differentiation (FST) were determined. In highly endemic P. knowlesi localities, the MOI for human and long-tailed macaque isolates was 1.04 and 1.15, respectively, while the Na was 11.14 and 7.86, respectively. Based on the allele frequency distribution for all loci, and with FST 
  5. Ramírez AM, Tang THT, Suárez ML, Fernández AÁ, García CM, Hisam S, et al.
    Am J Trop Med Hyg, 2021 Oct 12;105(6):1732-1737.
    PMID: 34662870 DOI: 10.4269/ajtmh.21-0406
    Malaria control and elimination require prompt diagnosis and accurate treatment. Conventional methods such as rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) and microscopy lack the characteristics to detect low parasitemias, commonly found in asymptomatic parasitemias and/or submicroscopic malaria carriers. On the contrary, molecular methods have higher sensitivity and specificity. This study evaluated the performance of two commercial real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays, RealStar® Malaria PCR (RealStar-genus) and RealStar Malaria Screen&Type PCR (RealStar-species), compared with the reference Nested Multiplex Malaria PCR, for the detection of the main five Plasmodium species affecting humans. A total of 121 samples were evaluated. Values of sensitivity (98.9% and 97.8%) and specificity (100% and 96.7%) of the RealStar-genus and the RealStar-species assays, respectively, were very good. The limit of detection (LoD) for the RealStar-genus assay showed a mean value of 0.28 parasites/µL with Plasmodium falciparum samples; while, the LoD of the RealStar-species assay ranged from 0.09 parasites/µL for P. vivax to two parasites/µL for P. ovale. The time to complete a diagnosis was established in 4 hours. Our findings showed a very good concordance of both assays compared with the reference method, with a very good analytical sensitivity. RealStar-species assay was able to correctly characterize double and triple infections. Therefore, these RealStar assays have shown to be useful tools in malaria diagnosis in non-endemic countries and even endemic countries, and for malaria control in general, detecting low parasitemias with sensitivity similar to the most sensitive methods as nested PCR, but with lower time to get the results.
  6. Divis PC, Singh B, Anderios F, Hisam S, Matusop A, Kocken CH, et al.
    PLoS Pathog, 2015 May;11(5):e1004888.
    PMID: 26020959 DOI: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1004888
    Human malaria parasite species were originally acquired from other primate hosts and subsequently became endemic, then spread throughout large parts of the world. A major zoonosis is now occurring with Plasmodium knowlesi from macaques in Southeast Asia, with a recent acceleration in numbers of reported cases particularly in Malaysia. To investigate the parasite population genetics, we developed sensitive and species-specific microsatellite genotyping protocols and applied these to analysis of samples from 10 sites covering a range of >1,600 km within which most cases have occurred. Genotypic analyses of 599 P. knowlesi infections (552 in humans and 47 in wild macaques) at 10 highly polymorphic loci provide radical new insights on the emergence. Parasites from sympatric long-tailed macaques (Macaca fascicularis) and pig-tailed macaques (M. nemestrina) were very highly differentiated (FST = 0.22, and K-means clustering confirmed two host-associated subpopulations). Approximately two thirds of human P. knowlesi infections were of the long-tailed macaque type (Cluster 1), and one third were of the pig-tailed-macaque type (Cluster 2), with relative proportions varying across the different sites. Among the samples from humans, there was significant indication of genetic isolation by geographical distance overall and within Cluster 1 alone. Across the different sites, the level of multi-locus linkage disequilibrium correlated with the degree of local admixture of the two different clusters. The widespread occurrence of both types of P. knowlesi in humans enhances the potential for parasite adaptation in this zoonotic system.
  7. Jiram AI, Ooi CH, Rubio JM, Hisam S, Karnan G, Sukor NM, et al.
    Malar J, 2019 Nov 21;18(1):369.
    PMID: 31752865 DOI: 10.1186/s12936-019-3005-6
    Please note that an author has been erroneously omitted from the author list of the published article [1].
  8. Noordin R, Yunus MH, Saidin S, Mohamed Z, Fuentes Corripio I, Rubio JM, et al.
    Am J Trop Med Hyg, 2020 12;103(6):2233-2238.
    PMID: 32996457 DOI: 10.4269/ajtmh.20-0348
    Independent evaluations of XEh Rapid®, an IgG4-based rapid dipstick test, were performed to assess its diagnostic performance to detect amebic liver abscess (ALA) using 405 samples at seven laboratories in four countries. The test showed high diagnostic specificity (97-100%) when tested with samples from healthy individuals (n = 100) and patients with other diseases (n = 151). The diagnostic sensitivity was tested with a total of 154 samples, and the results were variable. It was high in three laboratories (89-94%), and moderate (72%) and low (38%) in two other laboratories. Challenges and issues faced in the evaluation process are discussed. Nevertheless, XEh Rapid is promising to be developed into a point-of-care test in particular for resource-limited settings, and thus merits further confirmation of its diagnostic sensitivity.
  9. Divis PC, Lin LC, Rovie-Ryan JJ, Kadir KA, Anderios F, Hisam S, et al.
    Emerg Infect Dis, 2017 04;23(4):616-624.
    PMID: 28322705 DOI: 10.3201/eid2304.161738
    Multilocus microsatellite genotyping of Plasmodium knowlesi isolates previously indicated 2 divergent parasite subpopulations in humans on the island of Borneo, each associated with a different macaque reservoir host species. Geographic divergence was also apparent, and independent sequence data have indicated particularly deep divergence between parasites from mainland Southeast Asia and Borneo. To resolve the overall population structure, multilocus microsatellite genotyping was conducted on a new sample of 182 P. knowlesi infections (obtained from 134 humans and 48 wild macaques) from diverse areas of Malaysia, first analyzed separately and then in combination with previous data. All analyses confirmed 2 divergent clusters of human cases in Malaysian Borneo, associated with long-tailed macaques and pig-tailed macaques, and a third cluster in humans and most macaques in peninsular Malaysia. High levels of pairwise divergence between each of these sympatric and allopatric subpopulations have implications for the epidemiology and control of this zoonotic species.
  10. Jiram AI, Ooi CH, Rubio JM, Hisam S, Karnan G, Sukor NM, et al.
    Malar J, 2019 May 02;18(1):156.
    PMID: 31046769 DOI: 10.1186/s12936-019-2786-y
    BACKGROUND: Malaysia has declared its aim to eliminate malaria with a goal of achieving zero local transmission by the year 2020. However, targeting the human reservoir of infection, including those with asymptomatic infection is required to achieve malaria elimination. Diagnosing asymptomatic malaria is not as straightforward due to the obvious lack of clinical manifestations and often subpatent level of parasites. Accurate diagnosis of malaria is important for providing realistic estimates of malaria burden and preventing misinformed interventions. Low levels of parasitaemia acts as silent reservoir of transmission thus remains infectious to susceptible mosquito vectors. Hence, the aim of this study is to investigate the prevalence of asymptomatic submicroscopic malaria (SMM) in the District of Belaga, Sarawak.

    METHODS: In 2013, a total of 1744 dried blood spots (DBS) were obtained from residents of 8 longhouses who appeared healthy. Subsequently, 251 venous blood samples were collected from residents of 2 localities in 2014 based on the highest number of submicroscopic cases from prior findings. Thin and thick blood films were prepared from blood obtained from all participants in this study. Microscopic examination were carried out on all samples and a nested and nested multiplex PCR were performed on samples collected in 2013 and 2014 respectively.

    RESULTS: No malaria parasites were detected in all the Giemsa-stained blood films. However, of the 1744 samples, 29 (1.7%) were positive for Plasmodium vivax by PCR. Additionally, of the 251 samples, the most prevalent mono-infection detected by PCR was Plasmodium falciparum 50 (20%), followed by P. vivax 39 (16%), P. knowlesi 9 (4%), and mixed infections 20 (8%).

    CONCLUSIONS: This research findings conclude evidence of Plasmodium by PCR, among samples previously undetectable by routine blood film microscopic examination, in local ethnic minority who are clinically healthy. SMM in Belaga district is attributed not only to P. vivax, but also to P. falciparum and P. knowlesi. In complementing efforts of programme managers, there is a need to increase surveillance for SMM nationwide to estimate the degree of SMM that warrant measures to block new transmission of malaria.

  11. Alvarez-Fernandez A, Bernal MJ, Fradejas I, Martin Ramírez A, Md Yusuf NA, Lanza M, et al.
    Malar J, 2021 Jan 06;20(1):16.
    PMID: 33407529 DOI: 10.1186/s12936-020-03544-7
    BACKGROUND: The emergence and spread of anti-malarial resistance continues to hinder malaria control. Plasmodium falciparum, the species that causes most human malaria cases and most deaths, has shown resistance to almost all known anti-malarials. This anti-malarial resistance arises from the development and subsequent expansion of Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) in specific parasite genes. A quick and cheap tool for the detection of drug resistance can be crucial and very useful for use in hospitals and in malaria control programmes. It has been demonstrated in different contexts that genotyping by Kompetitive Allele Specific PCR (KASP), is a simple, fast and economical method that allows a high-precision biallelic characterization of SNPs, hence its possible utility in the study of resistance in P. falciparum.

    METHODS: Three SNPs involved in most cases of resistance to the most widespread anti-malarial treatments have been analysed by PCR plus sequencing and by KASP (C580Y of the Kelch13 gene, Y86N of the Pfmdr1 gene and M133I of the Pfcytb gene). A total of 113 P. falciparum positive samples and 24 negative samples, previously analysed by PCR and sequencing, were selected for this assay. Likewise, the samples were genotyped for the MSP-1 and MSP-2 genes, and the Multiplicity of Infection (MOI) and parasitaemia were measured to observe their possible influence on the KASP method.

    RESULTS: The KASP results showed the same expected mutations and wild type genotypes as the reference method, with few exceptions that correlated with very low parasitaemia samples. In addition, two cases of heterozygotes that had not been detected by sequencing were found. No correlation was found between the MOI or parasitaemia and the KASP values of the sample. The reproducibility of the technique shows no oscillations between repetitions in any of the three SNPs analysed.

    CONCLUSIONS: The KASP assays developed in this study were efficient and versatile for the determination of the Plasmodium genotypes related to resistance. The method is simple, fast, reproducible with low cost in personnel, material and equipment and scalable, being able to core KASP arrays, including numerous SNPs, to complete the main pattern of mutations associated to P. falciparum resistance.

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