Evidence accumulated through the years clearly indicates that antiparasite immune responses can efficiently control malaria parasite infection at all development stages, and under certain circumstances they can prevent parasite infection. Translating these findings into vaccines or immunotherapeutic interventions has been difficult in part because of the extraordinary biological complexity of this parasite, which has several developmental stages expressing unique sets of stage-specific genes and multiple antigens, most of which are antigenically diverse. Nevertheless, in the last 30 years major advances have resulted in characterization of a number of vaccine candidates, exploration of the repertoire of host immune responses to the various parasite stages, and also identification of significant hurdles that need to be overcome. Most important, these advances strengthened the concept that the induction of host immune responses that target all developmental stages of Plasmodium can efficiently control or abrogate Plasmodium infections and strongly support the notion that an effective vaccine can be developed. This vaccine would be a critical component for programs aimed at controlling or eradicating malaria.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)