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Adv Nutr. 2012 Jul 1;3(4):583-91. doi: 10.3945/an.111.001230.

Iron and malaria interactions: research needs from basic science to global policy.

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MRC International Nutrition Group, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK.


The resurgence in interest and concern regarding the potentially malign interactions between iron administration and malaria infections, especially in young children and pregnant women, has generated a research agenda that is both broad and deep. This paper highlights some of the key questions under 5 headings: basic science; clinical science and epidemiology; technological developments; country level planning; and global policy. At a time of unparalleled progress in basic science, which is illuminating the mechanisms by which iron interacts with infectious organisms, it is concluded that there are good medium-term prospects for achieving policy breakthroughs based on a secure foundation of disease-nutrient interactions. However, it is also stressed that there is much that can be done in the interim, especially in relation to health systems and implementation research that can empower systems to integrate iron interventions with programs for malaria prevention, surveillance, and treatment.

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