- How does the host immune response contribute in the transition from asymptomatic parasitaemia to symptomatic malaria infection in some infected children? Why does this transition only occur in some but not all asymptomatically infected children?
- What factors are contributing to the currently observed high prevalence of malaria in Malawian adults?
Although substantial progress has been made in malaria control, over 500,000 children still die from the disease each year, mainly in sub-Saharan Africa. A promising malaria vaccine is now available but the nature of both cell-mediated and humoral immunity that confer protection against malaria is still poorly understood. We aim to address this knowledge gap and determine how malaria infection affects the general adaptive immunity thereby predisposing the affected individuals to co-morbidities and affecting vaccine efficacy administered after malaria infections. We also plan to elucidate various factors that contribute towards the transition from asymptomatic infection to development of uncomplicated malaria and in some to even the severe, often fatal, malaria both in children and adults by collaborating with the malaria epidemiology and parasite Groups at MLW.
First Research Question Objectives:
- Characterise the phenotype and role of different immune cell types in different malaria types, including asymptomatically aparasitaemic children.
- Correlate memory B cells, long-term plasma cells and P. falciparum-antigen specific antibodies with protection from severe malaria.
Second Research Question Objectives:
- What are the immunological differences between HIV-uninfected Malawian adults malaria patients and those co-infected with malaria and HIV?
Third Research Question Objectives:What immunological markers associated with cerebral malaria contribute towards the disruption of the Blood-Brain barrier leading to cognitive abilities impairment in the survivors?
Two papers published on CTX effect in HEU: Longwe et al, PLoS One 2015, and Longwe et al, BMC Immunol, 2015