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Parasite Immunol. 2001 Feb;23(2):51-9.

Do maternally acquired antibodies protect infants from malaria infection?

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Department of Infectious and Tropical Diseases, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK.


Neonates and infants are relatively protected from clinical malaria, but the mechanism of this protection is not well understood. Maternally derived antibodies are commonly believed to provide protection against many infectious diseases, including malaria, for periods of up to 6-9 months but several recent epidemiological studies have produced conflicting results regarding a protective role of passively acquired antimalarial antibodies. In this article, we review the epidemiological evidence for resistance of young infants to malaria, summarize the data on antimalarial antibody levels and specificity and their association with protection from malaria infection or clinical disease, and explore alternative explanations for resistance to malaria in infants.

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