Background: Differences in parasite transmission intensity influence the process of acquisition of host immunity to Plasmodium falciparum malaria and ultimately, the rate of malaria related morbidity and mortality. Potential vaccines being designed to complement current intervention efforts therefore need to be evaluated against different malaria endemicity backgrounds.
Methods: The associations between antibody responses to the chimeric merozoite surface protein 1 block 2 hybrid (MSP1 hybrid), glutamate-rich protein region 2 (GLURP R2) and the peptide AS202.11, and the risk of malaria were assessed in children living in malaria hyperendemic (Burkina Faso, n = 354) and hypo-endemic (Ghana, n = 209) areas. Using the same reagent lots and standardized protocols for both study sites, immunoglobulin (Ig) M, IgG and IgG sub-class levels to each antigen were measured by ELISA in plasma from the children (aged 6-72 months). Associations between antibody levels and risk of malaria were assessed using Cox regression models adjusting for covariates.
Results: There was a significant association between GLURP R2 IgG3 and reduced risk of malaria after adjusting age of children in both the Burkinabe (hazard ratio 0.82; 95 % CI 0.74-0.91, p < 0.0001) and the Ghanaian (HR 0.48; 95 % CI 0.25-0.91, p = 0.02) cohorts. MSP1 hybrid IgM was associated (HR 0.85; 95 % CI 0.73-0.98, p = 0.02) with reduced risk of malaria in Burkina Faso cohort while IgG against AS202.11 in the Ghanaian children was associated with increased risk of malaria (HR 1.29; 95 % CI 1.01-1.65, p = 0.04).
Conclusion: These findings support further development of GLURP R2 and MSP1 block 2 hybrid, perhaps as a fusion vaccine antigen targeting malaria blood stage that can be deployed in areas of varying transmission intensity.
- GLURP R2
- MSP1 block 2 hybrid
- transmission intensity