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Malaria kills almost half a million people each year, mostly young children in sub-Saharan Africa. Decreased sensitivity of malaria parasite field isolates to artemisinin, the most recent antimalarial to be used in the field, is emerging, and it is of crucial importance to maintain an active research to develop new interventions. People living in malaria endemic areas develop naturally acquired immunity (NAI) after repeated exposure to malaria. However, the mechanism of NAI is not well understood. The fellowship aims to improve the understanding of how naturally acquired immunity works to protect against clinical malaria. For that purpose, the host scientists Darren Creek and Christian Doerig at Monash University, Australia, and the fellow Abdirahman Abdi from the Kenya Medical Research Institute have conducted controlled human malaria infection on Kenyan adults who had had varying levels of prior exposure to natural malaria infection.
Rintis Noviyanti from the Eijkman Institute for Molecular Biology (EIMB), Indonesia, and the host scientists at the Walter and Eliza Hall of Medical Research (WEHI), Australia, Diana Hansen and Alan Cowman, employed advanced technology and research methods, including cytometry by time-of-flight (CyTOF), and fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS), a derivative of flow cytometry that adds an exceptional degree of functionality for sorting cells. They used these technologies and methods, together with data mining and analysis, to identify biological markers present in individuals with natural immunity to Malaria.
This fellowship of Indra Wibowo from the Institut Teknologi Bandung, Indonesia, with Wai-Hong Tham from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research (WEHI), Australia, aimed to identify functional blocking antibodies that inhibit red blood cell binding and ligand-receptor interactions present in individuals in a region of high Malaria transmission in Indonesia. PfRh5 is one of the leading vaccine candidates against blood stage P. falciparum and PfRh4 governs the major invasion pathway independent of glycophorin-mediated entry.
Institute Pasteur Madagascar (IPM) is working with cohorts of EPTB (Extrapulmonary tuberculosis) patients in collaboration with local clinicians to better diagnose EPTB and accelerate diagnosis. IPM is gathering clinical, bacteriological as well immunological data and samples from these patients (clinical extrapulamonary Mtb (mycobacterium tuberculosis) strains, blood samples and other fluids), aiming to increase the Institute immunological investigation capacities in order to propose new options with new tools to diagnose EPTB with an integrated approach (host, pathogen, immune response). At IPM, the human host capacities need to be upgraded to meet with the international standards and increase the capacity to understand the host-pathogen interaction and build tools to fight against EPTB from this interaction. In this project, Paulo Ranaivomanana from IPM and Anna Coussens from WEHI work together to strengthen IPM capacities in assessing the immunological correlates that may be associated with extrapulmonary dissemination of Mtb. Understanding the determinants of Mtb dissemination can be useful to build diagnostic tools for EPTB.