After many decades of research, an effective vaccine for malaria is still not available. Most research efforts have focused on identifying a key target antigen and then using powerful adjuvants to generate specific antibodies that can block parasites from entering host cells (hepatocytes, red blood cells). However, the inability to generate sufficiently potent antibody responses has led to significant disappointment with current vaccine programs.
Developing efficacious vaccines for human malaria caused by Plasmodium falciparum is a major global health priority, although this has proven to be immensely challenging over the decades. One major hindrance is the incomplete understanding of specific immune responses that confer protection against disease and/or infection. While antibodies to play a crucial role in malaria immunity, the functional mechanisms of these antibodies remain unclear as most research has primarily focused on the direct inhibitory or neutralizing activity of antibodies.
Accurate and cost-effective identification of areas where co-endemic infections occur would enable public health managers to identify opportunities for implementation of integrated control programs. Dried blood spots collected during cross-sectional lymphatic filariasis surveys in coastal Kenya were used for exploratory integrated detection of IgG antibodies against antigens from several parasitic infections (Wuchereria bancrofti, Schistosoma mansoni, Plasmodium spp., Ascaris lumbricoides, and Strongyloides stercoralis) as well as for detection of responses to immunizing agents used against vaccine-preventable diseases (VPDs) (measles, diphtheria, and tetanus) using a multiplex bead assay (MBA) platform.