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Mol Immunol. 2001 Dec;38(6):433-42.

Peptide-based subunit vaccines against pre-erythrocytic stages of malaria parasites.

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Department of Medical and Molecular Parasitology, New York University School of Medicine, 341 East 25th Street, New York, NY 10010, USA.


Malaria currently ranks among the most prevalent infections in tropical and sub-tropical areas throughout the world with relatively high morbidity and mortality particularly in young children. The widespread occurrence and the increased incidence of malaria in many countries, caused by drug-resistant parasites (Plasmodium falciparum and P. vivax) and insecticide-resistant vectors (Anopheles mosquitoes), indicate the need to develop new methods of controlling this disease. Experimental vaccination with radiation-attenuated sporozoites can protect animals and humans against the disease, demonstrating the feasibility of developing an effective malaria vaccine. However, vaccines based on radiation-attenuated sporozoites are not feasible for large scale application due to lack of in vitro culture system. Therefore, the development of peptide-based subunit vaccines has been undertaken as an alternative approach. Synthetic peptides containing defined B- and T-cell epitopes of different antigens expressed in sporozoites and/or liver stages have been used as subunit vaccines in experimental animal models. They have been shown to be highly immunogenic and capable of inducing protective immunity mediated by antibodies, as well as CD4+ and CD8+ T-cells.

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