Uncovering the real impact of persistent malaria infections

Uncovering the real impact of persistent malaria infections

Project details

After years of exposure, individuals in malaria endemic areas develop clinical immunity. This antibody-mediated protection prevents clinical episodes by reducing parasite levels, with adults experiencing asymptomatic malaria. Although asymptomatic malaria has long been viewed as beneficial, as it is thought to help maintain clinical immunity, emerging views suggest that these infections are detrimental for the host and perpetuate malaria transmission.  

To address this, a prospective study of malaria-infected asymptomatic and symptomatic patients as well as healthy immune controls was conducted in an endemic area of Indonesia. We will investigate blood transcriptional profiles of Plasmodium vivax infected individuals to the real impact of persistent malaria infections. This information is critical to provide a framework to consider screening and treatment of asymptomatic malaria infections in the field. 

About our research group

Our team focuses on understanding mechanisms leading to susceptibility and immunity to mosquito-borne infectious diseases like malaria and dengue, which together account 600 million clinical cases worldwide annually. In 2020, our group has also turned into COVID-19 research, to understand the longevity of the immune response to SARS-CoV2 and as well as the identification of factors predisposing to long COVID. 

We have ample experience in in vivo models of infection, and we utilize a wide range of techniques for assessment of immunological endpoints.  

Our group has strong links with scientist in malaria and dengue-endemic areas, where we conduct field human studies. Our main collaborators are the Eijkman Institute for Molecular Biology in Jakarta, Indonesia and the Institute of Translational Medical Research in Buenos Aires, Argentina. 

 

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