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Duffy-negative blood types no longer protected from P. Vivax malaria
Date:3/15/2010

s a major public health problem. Major efforts to fight malaria are focused on Plasmodium falciparum. While P. vivax is the second most prevalent malaria parasite, public health data on it is limited. "We did not anticipate such a widespread phenomenon when we started the study with our Malagasy colleagues from the National Malaria Control Programme. Finding vivax malaria in a group previously considered resistant adds yet another public health threat to this population. It was bad news. We need to understand how the parasite has evolved in Madagascar to spread disease to a broader population," says Dr. Didier Mnard from Pasteur Institute.

Dr. Odile Mercereau-Puijalon, Head of the Parasite Molecular Immunology Unit at the Pasteur Institute, commented, "The large numbers of P. vivax parasitized red blood cells in Duffy-negative patients shows an efficient invasion process in cells considered to be resistant to infection. This capacity is clearly not restricted to a single P. vivax strain in Madagascar and is a widespread phenomenon across the island. Our findings illustrate the extraordinary capacity of malaria parasites to overcome barriers. This calls for increased vigilance in the efforts to control malaria."

With these novel findings, the Case Western Reserve and Pasteur Institute researchers will examine how the malaria parasites successfully invade the cells and determine the molecular receptor involved in this process. Through their future studies the team hopes to determine how these parasites invade red blood cells and contribute to development of an effective vaccine against vivax malaria.


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Contact: Jessica Studeny
jessica.studeny@case.edu
216-368-4692
Case Western Reserve University
Source:Eurekalert

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