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How ‘self-sabotage’ prevents immune response against malaria

Recent research being found out by scientists of Australia
Malarial parasite causes an inflammatory reaction which sabotages our body's ability to protect against this deadly disease.


Scientists being working in Australia over the infection being caused due to malaria viruses have discovered the inflammatory reaction being taking place in a body which disrupts the development of immune in one’s body against the virus. This discovery is being proved to be an important step in developing newer vaccines against the virus which can help to develop sufficient immune power to fight against the virus.


One of the report by WHO (World Health Organization), there were almost 214 million cases of malaria and 4,38,000 deaths globally in the year of September 2015. However, its evidences has fallen by 37% since 2000.

According to the research the inflammatory molecules being developed inside a body due to the virus of plasmodium falciparum prevents the growth of newer antibodies inside the body.

With most of the infections to other viruses single infection or being exposure to them is enough to cause development of antibodies against them for the rest of their life. However, malarial virus is such whose development of sufficient immune system requires a long time of almost 20 years. This is due to the main reason that human body is not good enough in developing long-lasting immunity for the parasites. This has greatly hampered the development of the vaccine.

With such a long duration of 20 years required for the development of sufficient immunity against the virus is also quite not beneficial as it leads to quite some of the difficulties being discussed below:

  1. Longer duration to develop immune: Due to longer duration the person is susceptible to get the infection about more then 1 or 2 times which can sometime prove to be fatal for the individual person too.
  2. Infection to other individuals: Due to suffering from the infection and not able to develop immunity they are likely to spread the disease to other individuals being staying close to them.
  3. Affecting overall development of an individual: Since there is no perfect vaccine to permanently get rid of this disease, the person will get easily affected to disease and hence will affect his overall performance to his working environment or studies.
T-cells and B-cells functionality block diagram before and during the malaria infection.
Typical block diagram showing the combined functionality of T-cells and B-cells before the malarial infection and the hampering of function of B-cells by blocking the T-cells due to inflammatory reaction.

Research findings

According to one of the co-lead researcher Axel Kallies, inflammatory molecules released by the body to fight the infection were preventing the production of protective antibodies.

During the infection from the malaria the inflammatory molecules actually arrest the development of the helper T-cells, which results in B-cells not getting proper instruction for the development of proper antibodies against the virus.

The findings being published in the Journal Cell Reports and is proved to be quite beneficial for the further development of the vaccine.

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