To-date we have a limited understanding of the biology the dormant P. vivax liver stages (i.e. the hypnozoites) and the epidemiological consequence of the relapses they cause. This is greatly hindering our ability to both monitor the efficacy of existing anti-bloodstage and anti-hypnozoite drugs and develop new drugs targeting these hidden P. vivax life-stages.
Relapses from liver stages from the same initial mosquito bite are full or half siblings. We are exploiting this fact to develop a familial genotyping method to identify if subsequent infections in the same patient are genetically related and thus were transmitted in the same mosquito bite. This will then be used to monitor for resistance to drugs, and for clinical trials for new therapeutics.
Other team members: Jacob Munro, Jason Rosado, Melanie Bahlo