Lao – Japan lab / Parasitology 2019-2020

Head of Lab: Shigeyuki KANO, MD, Ph D
Email: kano@ri.ncgm.go.jp

The aims of the Parasitology Laboratory are to carry out research and training in the area of parasitology to better understand parasitic diseases affecting the Lao population and to propose ways to mitigate possible infections, and to provide technical support to the national-level institutions in the areas of malaria and other parasitic diseases.

Executive summary

Parasitology Laboratory had conducted the JICA/ AMED SATREPS project for parasitic diseases (malaria, schistosomiasis, opisthorchiasis) since 2014, with close collaboration with Center of Malariology, Parasitology and Entomology (CMPE), Ministry of Health, Lao PDR, local partners in provinces, WHO Laos, National Center for Global Health and Medicine (NCGM), Tokyo, Japan and other partners. This project aimed to develop high-sensitive diagnostic methods, such as PCR, LAMP, ELISA for the parasitic diseases, to identify precise endemicity of the diseases, to monitor drug-resistant malaria, to build capacity for investigations of the diseases, and to provide evidence and advises for control and elimination of the diseases.

This five-years collaborative project was terminated in April 2019. A total of 14 scientific papers were published in international journals. Some of the outcomes of the project were utilized for national guidelines for the control and elimination of malaria and schistosomiasis in Lao PDR. One of the important achievements of the project is human resource development. In 2019, one staff member from CMPE who was a member of the project obtained his PhD under the scheme of the SATREPS project. Our lab staff supported his study on malaria among Lao military personnel.

A major focus of our research is drug resistant malaria, especially artemisinin resistance. Artemisinin resistant malaria has been a major obstacle for malaria control and elimination in the country. In this report, we will update the situation of artemisinin resistance. In 2018, we showed that artemisinin-resistant malaria has rapidly spread from south to north and already reached the northernmost province (Phongsaly). In our recent study, we found that prevalence of artemisinin resistance in 2017 decreased, compared with that in 2015 in Savannakhet, Salavan, Sekong and Attapeu Provinces.

Arboshield Project continues to improve the capacity of surveillance and diagnosis of vector-borne diseases. Role of Parasitology lab in this project is to improve malaria diagnosis for the civil sector and military sector through training and quality assessment.

After the SATREPS project, Parasitology Lab starts a new malaria research project named “5-Aminolevlinic acid (5-ALA) Asymptomatic Malaria Project” in October 2019. 5-ALA is a health food supplement produced by neopharma Japan Co. Ltd. Some studies showed that 5-ALA has the efficacy to kill or inhibit Plasmodium growth both in vitro and in vivo. In this new project, we will evaluate the efficacy to kill or inhibit Plasmodium growth among asymptomatic Plasmodium carriers in malaria high endemic villages in Savannakhet Province. If this supplement is effective for asymptomatic Plasmodium carriers, this will be an effective tool to eliminate asymptomatic Plasmodium carriers in the endemic areas.

Team:

Head of Laboratory: Shigeyuki KANO, MD, PhD

Scientist: Moritoshi IWAGAMI, PhD, Laboratory Manager

Junior Scientists:
Phonepadith KHATTIGNAVONG, MD
Sengdeuane KEOMALAPHET, MD
Phoyphaylinh PRASAYASITH, MD

Technicians:
Pheovaly SOUNDALA
Sonesimmaly SANNIKONE

Trainees:
Intong PHENGSOUVANH (July 2018-June 2019)
Anousone KIENGPASA (July 2019-June 2020)

PhD Students:
Emiri TAKAHASHI
Phoutnalong VILY
Hitomi ARAKI

Volunteer:
Takashi SEKINE, JICA Short Term Volunteer (March
2019-March 2020)

Visiting Scientists:
Phonepadith XANGSAYARATH, MD, PhD
Masami NAKATSU, PhD
Emilie MATSUMOTO-TAKAHASHI, PhD
Satoru KAWAI, PhD
Megumi SATO, PhD
Masamine JIMBA, MD, PhD
Jun KOBAYASHI, MD, PhD
Toshihiro MITA, MD, PhD
Takashi KUMAGAI, PhD
Satoshi NAKAMURA, PhD
Daisuke NONAKA, PhD
Ken Ing Cherng ONG

Project carried on in the lab:

+SATREPS
+Arboshield
+BioLao Plus
+5-Aminolevlinic acid (5-ALA) Asymptomatic Malaria