In vitro and ex vivo cultivation of Plasmodium (P) falciparum has facilitated active research into the malaria parasite toward the quest for basic knowledge and the discovery of effective drug treatments. Such a drug discovery program is currently difficult for P. malariae simply because of the absence of in vitro and ex vivo cultivation system for its asexual blood stages supporting antimalarial evaluation. Despite availability of artemisinin combination therapies effective on P. falciparum, P. malariae is being increasingly detected in malaria endemic countries. P. malariae is responsible for chronic infections and is associated with a high burden of anemia and morbidity. Here, we optimized and adapted ex vivo conditions under which P. malariae can be cultured and used for screening antimalarial drugs. Subsequently, this enabled us to test compounds such as artemether, chloroquine, lumefantrine, and quinine for ex vivo antimalarial activity against P. malariae.
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