Researchers have identified a substance, or antigen, that generates antibodies that can hinder the ability of malaria parasites to multiply, which may protect against severe malaria infection. The antigen, known as PfSEA-1, was associated with reduced parasite levels among children and adults in malaria-endemic areas. Mice exposed to PfSEA-1 in an investigational vaccine also experienced lower malaria parasite levels. The discovery of PfSEA-1 could be a critical addition to the limited pool of antigens currently used in candidate malaria vaccines. The findings, which appear in the May 23 issue of Science, result from a collaboration of scientists from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, and NIAID grantees.
DK Raj et al. Antibodies to PfSEA-1 block parasite egress from RBCs and protect against malaria infection. Science DOI: 10.1126/science.1254417 (2014).
NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., is available to comment on this research. Patrick E. Duffy, M.D., chief of NIAID's Laboratory of Malaria Immunology and Vaccinology, is a co-author on the paper and is also available for comment.
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