A wide deployment of malaria control tools have significantly reduced malaria morbidity and mortality across Africa. However, in the last five to seven years, there has been a resurgence of malaria in several African countries, raising the questions of whether and why current control mechanisms are failing. Since the first Plasmodium falciparum reference genome was published in 2002, few thousands more representing a broad range of geographical isolates have been sequenced. These advances in parasite genomics have improved our understanding of mutational changes, molecular structure, and genetic mechanisms associated with diagnostic testing, antimalarial resistance, and preventive measures such as vaccine development. In this chapter, we summarize the current progress on: (1) genomic characteristics of P. falciparum; (2) novel biomarkers and revolutionary techniques for diagnosing malaria infections; and (3) current vaccine targets and challenges for developing efficacious and long-lasting malaria vaccines.
Part of the book: Current Topics and Emerging Issues in Malaria Elimination