Despite recent successful efforts to reduce the global malaria burden, this disease remains a significant global health problem. Only in 2018, malaria caused 228 million clinical episodes, 2-4 million of which were severe malaria cases, and 405,000 were fatal. Most of the malaria attributable mortality occurred among children in sub-Saharan Africa.
Research on erythrocytic Plasmodium vivax merozoite antigens is critical for identifying potential vaccine candidates in reducing vivax disease. However, many P. vivax studies are constrained by its inability to undergo long-term culture in vitro Conserved across all Plasmodium spp, merozoite surface proteins are essential for invasion into erythrocytes and highly expressed on erythrocytic merozoites, thus making it an ideal vaccine candidate.
Over the last century, a great deal of effort and resources have been poured into the development of vaccines to protect against malaria, particularly targeting the most widely spread and deadly species of the human-infecting parasites: Plasmodium falciparum. Many of the known proteins the parasite uses to invade human cells have been tested as vaccine candidates.
During intraerythrocytic development Plasmodium falciparum deploys numerous proteins to support erythrocyte invasion, intracellular growth and development, as well as host immune evasion. Since these proteins are key for parasite intraerythrocytic survival and propagation, they represent attractive targets for antimalarial vaccines. In this study we sought to characterize a member of the PHISTc family of proteins, PF3D7_0801000, as a potential vaccine target.
The Plasmodium vivax variant proteins encoded by vir genes are highly polymorphic antigens and are considered as one of key proteins of P. vivax for host immune evasion via antigenic variations. Because genetic diversity of these antigens is a critical hurdle in the development of an effective vaccine, understanding the genetic nature of the vir genes in natural population is important.
Vaccines against infectious diseases have had great successes in the history of public health. Major breakthroughs have occurred in the development of vaccine-based interventions against viral and bacterial pathogens through the application of classical vaccine design strategies. In contrast the development of a malaria vaccine has been slow. Plasmodium falciparum malaria affects millions of people with nearly half of the world population at risk of infection.
Anti-circumsporozoite antibody titres have been established as an essential indicator for evaluating the immunogenicity and protective capacity of the RTS,S/AS01 malaria vaccine.
Vaccines are the primary means of controlling and preventing pandemics and outbreaks of pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, and parasites. However, a major drawback of naked DNA-based vaccines is their low immunogenicity and the amount of plasmid DNA necessary to elicit a response. Nano-sized liposomes can overcome this limitation, enhancing both nucleic acid stability and targeting to cells after administration.
Recent malaria vaccine trials in endemic areas have yielded disparate results compared to studies conducted in non-endemic areas. A workshop was organized to discuss the differential pre-erythrocytic stage malaria vaccine (Pre-E-Vac) efficacies and underlying protective immunity under various conditions. It was concluded that many factors, including vaccine technology platforms, host genetics or physiologic conditions, and parasite and mosquito vector variations, may all contribute to Pre-E-Vac efficacy.
Reticulocyte binding protein-like homologs (RHs) are currently being evaluated as anti-erythrocytic stage vaccine targets against Plasmodium falciparum malaria. Present study explores the possible evolutionary drivers shaping the genetic organization of Pfrhs in Indian parasite population. It simultaneously evaluates a putative gain-of-function variant of PfRH5, a keystone member of PfRH family.