Plasmodium vivax is the most widely distributed malaria parasite. There has been growing evidence that P. vivax is responsible for a significant proportion of global disease, and half of all malaria cases in Latin America and Asia. Despite recent recognition that the overall burden, economic impact, and severity of P. vivax disease have been underestimated, this species remains underrepresented in the scientific literature and fora. To address this unmet need, the New York Academy of Sciences, "la Caxia" Foundation, and International Center for Scientific Debate will jointly present a 2.5-day scientifi conference, Advances in Plasmodium Vivax Malaria Research, to be held at the CosmoCaixa science museum in Barcelona, Spain on June 5-7, 2013. The main objectives of the conference are to: (i) Provide a neutral forum for exchange of novel scientific knowledge and expertise among P. vivax investigators;(ii) Foster collaborations between complementary research groups and implementation teams, to enhance and leverage knowledge and technical expertise, and to prevent experimental redundancy;(iii) Showcase early career and underrepresented investigators (i.e. women, ethnic/racial minorities, and persons with disabilities) in P. vivax research via short talks, poster sessions, travel fellowships, and career mentoring;(iv) Disseminate the conference proceedings;and (v) Foster partnerships among academia, clinicians, government and regulatory agencies, to promote the global imperative of malaria control and eradication through the discussion and design of existing and future strategies. The conference is anticipated to attract approximately 150 international attendees from the United States and Europe, as well as Latin American and Asian countries in which P. vivax is endemic. Sessions will explore P. vivax molecular biology and genomics, host-parasite interactions, novel research techniques ('omics) to overcome barriers to in vitro, in vivo, and clinical study of P. vivax;drug resistance and drug discovery;and recent clinical trial and in-field efforts in P. vivx prevention, treatment, and control. Thematically, the conference goals align well with the NIAID's mission to find effective means by which to control and ultimately eliminate malaria. The majority of life-threatening P. vivax infections occur in children under the age of five years, consistent with the imperative of the NICHD to ensure the ability of children to live healthy, productive, disease-free lives. Lectures, interactive discussions, networking breaks, and a conference reception will provide a neutral forum for interaction of an international community who may not otherwise regularly interact at a single scientific meeting, ensuring that recent advances in P. vivax biology and public health strategies are disseminated among those at the forefront of vivax research. The dissemination of knowledge originating from the conference via an open-access, online multimedia report and additional print publication will ultimately foster advancement in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of this neglected parasite.
Malaria accounts for ~250 million clinical cases and nearly one million deaths annually, mostly in children, in 109 countries. There has been growing evidence that P. vivax is the most widely distributed malaria parasite, responsible for a significant burden of global disease and accounting for the majority of malaria cases in Latin America and Asia. Despite this recent understanding that the overall burden, economic impact, and severity of P. vivax disease has been underestimated, this species remains underrepresented in the scientific literature and professional fora. This 2.5-day, international, scientific conference, jointly presented by the New York Academy of Sciences, la Caixa Foundation, and the International Center for Scientific Debate in Barcelona, Spain, will represent the fourth international meeting of the P. vivax research community. It will provide a forum in which to address the research and treatment challenges of this neglected malaria parasite. On the eve of the scientific sessions, Dr. Pedro L. Alonso, MD, PhD, will deliver a free public lecture about malaria. Thereafter, the conference will provide a neutral forum for the discussion of P. vivax molecular biology and genomics, host-parasite interactions that must be understood to develop efficacious new therapies;novel research techniques to overcome obstacles to the study of this parasite;the challenges of drug resistance and drug discovery;and provide perspective about how P. vivax control will impact the global endeavor to eradicate malaria. It is anticipated that the discussions, exchange of data, and publication of print and web-based post-conference Meeting Reports resulting from this conference will further the understanding the molecular biology and genetics of an important, but understudied parasite, and will advance the global imperative of malaria control and eradication.