Antibodies target protein common in life-threatening malaria

Researchers from the University of Edinburgh found antibodies that could treat malaria by targeting a key protein that exists in severe or life-threatening cases of malaria. This protein binds to red blood cells and forms dangerous clumps, or rosettes, that can block blood vessels causing severe complications, including coma and brain damage. Researchers found that the surface proteins of rosette-forming malaria parasites share similarities that may allow them to act as a target for treatments. Scientists from University of Edinburgh and collaborators from Cameroon, Mali, Kenya and The Gambia used the antibodies against malaria parasites collected from patients. According to Professor Alexandra Rowe of the University of Edinburgh's School of Biological Sciences, this discovery could lead to the formulation of vaccines to block the formation of rosettes, thus preventing life-threatening cases of malaria.