Leopoldo Villegas

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Regardless of the growing interest in detecting population structures in malarial parasites, there have been limited discussions on how to use this concept in control programmes. In such context, the effects of the parasite population structures will depend on interventions’ spatial or temporal scales. This investigation explores the problem of identifying(More)
Accurate and rapid diagnosis of malaria infections is crucial for implementing species-appropriate treatment and saving lives. Molecular diagnostic tools are the most accurate and sensitive method of detecting Plasmodium, differentiating between Plasmodium species, and detecting subclinical infections. Despite available whole-genome sequence data for(More)
Recent studies indicated that sensitive parasites could increase in frequency in a population when drugs are removed, suggesting that the life span of affordable antimalarial drugs could be expanded. We studied 97 samples from Bolivar State, Venezuela, an area where sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) has not been used for 8 years due to its ineffectiveness. We(More)
Molecular tools are valuable for determining evolutionary history and the prevalence of drug-resistant malaria parasites. These tools have helped to predict decreased sensitivity to antimalarials and fixation of multidrug resistance genotypes in some regions. In order to assess how historical drug policies impacted Plasmodium falciparum in Venezuela, we(More)
The merozoite surface protein-1 gene of Plasmodium vivax is highly polymorphic and so, currently used in epidemiological studies of P. vivax malaria. We sequenced the variable block 5 of the gene from 39 Venezuelan isolates, 18 of which were co-infected with Plasmodium falciparum. We observed a limited variability with 34 isolates belonging to the type(More)
The genotypes of hepatitis B (HBV) and delta (HDV) viruses circulating among Venezuelan Amerindian populations, where these viruses are endemic, were determined by sequencing of PCR amplified products from HBsAg positive sera. HDV genotype I (n = 7, 6 from West Amerindians), and III (n = 5, 4 from South Amerindians), were found. Only one HDV genotype I(More)
GB virus C or hepatitis G virus (GBV-C/HGV) is highly prevalent among population groups at risk of parenterally transmitted viral agents, but it has also a worldwide distribution in other non-risk population groups. GBV-C/HGV RNA and antibodies against its envelope protein (anti-E2 Abs) were found in 3/86 (3%) and 7/89 (8%) of biomedical science personnel(More)
Suriname was a high malaria risk country before the introduction of a new five-year malaria control program in 2005, the Medical Mission Malaria Programme (MM-MP). Malaria was endemic in the forested interior, where especially the stabile village communities were affected. The interventions of the MM-MP included new strategies for prevention, vector(More)
Plasmodium vivax is the most prevalent human malaria parasite in the Americas. Previous studies have contrasted the genetic diversity of parasite populations in the Americas with those in Asia and Oceania, concluding that New World populations exhibit low genetic diversity consistent with a recent introduction. Here we used an expanded sample of complete(More)
Information on infection with hepatitis C virus (HCV) in South America is scarce. The seroprevalences of antibodies to HCV among urban, rural and Amerindian populations from Venezuela, and the genotypes of the HCV isolates recovered, were therefore determined. A total of 2592 sera were tested with an immuno-assay which was developed in-house and based on(More)