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New findings could lead to vaccine for severe malaria

le to a subpopulation of the parasites.

Earlier studies have suggested that each protein from the parasite attaches to only one specific protein, a receptor, in the placenta. Ms Rasti and her colleagues suspected, however, that the natural mechanisms are more complex than laboratory studies have shown. They therefore collected and analysed placentas on site in Uganda.

"Most of the parasites we studied could bind to three different receptors in the placenta," she says. "This would mean that a future vaccine cannot be based on the principle of one protein-one receptor, as was previously believed."

Now that scientists know that several placental receptors are involved in the binding mechanism, attention will be shifted to the parasite itself, and whether it produces many different surface proteins or if one and the same protein is able to bind to many host receptors.


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Source:Karolinska Institutet


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