Transmission of Plasmodium vivax still persist in Malaysia despite the government's aim to eliminate malaria in 2020. High treatment failure rate of chloroquine monotherapy was reported recently. Hence, parasite drug susceptibility should be kept under close monitoring. Mutation analysis of the drug resistance markers is useful for reconnaissance of anti-malarial drug resistance. Hitherto, information on P. vivax drug resistance marker in Malaysia are limited.
Vaccines are the most reliable alternative to elicit sterile immunity against malaria but their development has been hindered by polymorphisms and strain-specificity in previously studied antigens. New vaccine candidates are therefore urgently needed. Highly conserved Plasmodium falciparum reticulocyte-binding protein homologue-5 (PfRH5) has been identified as a potential candidate for anti-disease vaccine development. PfRH5 is essential for erythrocyte invasion by merozoites and crucial for parasite survival. However, there is paucity of data on the extent of genetic variations on PfRH5 in field isolates of Plasmodium falciparum. This study described genetic polymorphisms at the high affinity binding polypeptides (HABPs) 36718, 36727, 36728 of PfRH5 in Nigerian isolates of P. falciparum. This study tested the hypothesis that only specific conserved B and T cell epitopes on PfRH5 HABPs are crucial for vaccine development.