Malaria

Jean Langhorne, Department of Biology, Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, London, UK

Anthony A Holder, Division of Parasitology, National Institute for Medical Research, Mill Hill, London, UK

Malaria is a devastating disease caused by protozoan parasites (Plasmodium spp.) that have a complex life cycle in a mosquito and a vertebrate host. Human malaria is caused by four species. Each stage of the life cycle is morphologically distinct and many immunogenic proteins are synthesized at each stage. The disease is caused by the asexual stage in the bloodstream. The parasite has a number of ways of evading a protective immune response, but immunity to the parasite and the disease it causes does develop after repeated exposure. Several strategies for vaccine design and development are being pursued.

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