Investigating mechanisms of protective immunity against malaria

Lead Research Organisation: MRC Unit, The Gambia


This project will investigate why some people when infected by the malaria parasite are more likely to develop severe and some are likely to develop mild malaria. Studies addressing this question in that past have led to important developments in scientific understanding of the disease which point to novel treatments and strategies for disease prevention by vaccination. Current therapies and prophylaxis are limited in efficacy so new therapeutic interventions are urgently needed to respond to this increasing threat to health worldwide.

Technical Summary

A quarter of the risk of severe malaria is determined by host genetic factors, and discovering the genes responsible may provide vital clues about mechanisms of protective immunity and how to develop an effective vaccine. Advances in human genome research provide unprecedented opportunities to identify malaria resistance genes in a systematic and comprehensive manner.This proposal builds on a programme of investigation that has been going on in The Gambia since 1997, which has generated DNA and clinical data from over 2000 children with severe malaria, together with parents of 1500 of these children.


10 25 50
Description Schools visits - Fajara 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Demonstrations of research on various aspects of malaria by members of the team for high school children

Very positive and good understanding and appreciation of medical research among those in the community
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2007,2008,2009