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Malaria infection depends on number of parasites, not bites

Malaria is spread when mosquitoes bite humans and release microscopic parasites

IANS  |  London 

Malaria infection depends on number of parasites, not bites

Researchers have, for the first time, found that the chances of a person developing infection is determined by the number of parasites each individual mosquito carries, not the number of mosquito bites a person receives.

is spread when mosquitoes bite humans and release microscopic parasites, which live in the of the mosquitoes, into the person's bloodstream.

The parasites then travel to the liver, where they mature and multiply for 8-30 days before spreading throughout the bloodstream and causing the symptoms of

The study, led by researchers at Imperial College London, showed that RTS,S — the only registered vaccine — becomes less effective when mice or humans were bitten by mosquitoes carrying a greater number of parasites.

This explains why the vaccine is effective only around 50 per cent of the time as well as any protection rapidly drops off after three years.

It may be because the vaccine can only kill a certain proportion of the parasites and is overwhelmed when the population is too large, the researchers said.

"The study has shown that the concept of relying on the number of bites alone to predict malarial burden is flawed and has probably hampered the successful use of control measures and the development of effective vaccines," said Andrew Blagborough from

The findings are extremely important and should be taken into account while developing vaccines for and other vector-borne diseases, Blagborough added.

The study was published in the journal PLOS Pathogens.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, January 13 2017. 15:18 IST
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