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Trends Parasitol. 2001 Jun;17(6):253-4.

Case-control studies on host factors in severe malaria.

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  • 1Unité INSERM U511, Immunobiologie Cellulaire et Moléculaire des Infections Parasitaires, Faculté de Médecine Pitié-Salpétrière, 91 Boulevard de l'Hôpital, 75634, Cedex 13, Paris, France. m_nacher@lycos.com


Although molecular biology has illustrated the phenotypic heterogeneity of Plasmodium falciparum, there are still no specific markers of virulence. As parasite virulence is an important determinant of severe malaria, the choice of comparison groups in the study of host factors influencing severity is a delicate issue. Ignoring parasite factors in the selection of controls potentially leads to biased comparisons between a majority of cases with virulent parasites and a majority of controls with non-virulent parasites. This article discusses how to avoid this virulence bias in the absence of specific markers of virulence.

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