The Laboratory of Malaria Immunology and Vaccinology (LMIV), formerly The Malaria Vaccine Development Branch (MVDB), is an NIAID initiative working in close collaboration with DMID to respond to the global need for vaccines against malaria. The mission of the LMIV is to discover and develop malaria vaccines through fundamental and clinical research in immunobiology and vaccinology, including investigations of malaria pathogenesis in the context of host immune responses. In support of this mission, the LMIV will develop new assays and animal models to assess vaccine candidates. An asexual blood-stage vaccine will elicit immune responses capable of either destroying malaria parasites in the blood stream or inhibiting parasites from infecting red blood cells. In either case, the net effect is to reduce or prevent burden of parasites and hence decrease the incidence, severity, or the complications of disease. Such a vaccine would target blood-stage parasite proteins since these antigens are abundantly expressed by parasites during persistent infections. It would act to prime the immune system for subsequent infection in infants or it would boost already present, yet weak, natural immunity in young children. Furthermore, a vaccine composed of multiple antigens will increase the number of individuals responding to at least one component of the vaccine. The inclusion of multiple alleles of polymorphic proteins would also minimize immune pressure on parasite selection, thus decreasing the likelihood of parasite breakthrough.
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