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A novel approach to identify the specific antibody characteristics important for protection from malaria in pregnant women

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Over 100 million pregnant women are at risk of malaria each year. Effects include maternal anemia, miscarriage and low birth weight, and central to their pathogenesis is the placental sequestration of Plasmodium falciparum- infected erythrocytes (IE), termed placental malaria, and mediated by a parasite protein called VAR2CSA. First-time mothers are at greatest risk, as they lack antibody to VAR2CSA. Very little is known about immunity to malaria in pregnancy, and the importance of VAR2CSA immunity, in protection of South American women from malaria in pregnancy. Using Systems Serology, which combines multiple novel and established antibody assays with advanced statistical analysis, we will identify components of the naturally acquired and vaccine-induced antibody responses required to protect pregnant women. Thus, project aims to better understand to Plasmodium falciparum antibody responses correlate with protection from malaria in pregnancy in a population of women in the Brazilian Amazon. (AU)

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