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Correlating protection against malaria with serum profiles against Plasmodium falciparum antigen repertoires (FIGHTMAL)
Start date: 01 Jun 2008, End date: 31 May 2012 PROJECT  FINISHED 

"People living in malaria endemic areas develop, with time, a form of immunity to infection and clinical disease mediated by antibodies directed against P. falciparum antigens. Currently there are no assays or clinical parameters that predict whether an exposed person is protected against malaria. This represents a major obstacle for vaccine development. Here research institutions and industrial partners, combining cutting edge expertise in protein microarrays, immunoassay development, immunology, protein expression and epidemiology join their efforts with the objective of translating the genome sequence information of Plasmodium falciparum into a tool to unravel correlates of protection against human malaria. Recombinant P. falciparum proteins, encompassing the repertoire of secreted and surface antigens, will be printed onto microarrays to develop an immunoassay capable of unraveling antibodies directed against a vast number of parasite molecules. This assay will be utilized to compare the antigen-antibody recognition profiles of protected and non-protected persons in malaria-exposed communities, thus facilitating the identification of the antigens that either alone or in combination function as targets of protective immunity. The underlying project structure in terms of research activities, task distribution and management has been planned with the priority of facilitating the interactions of human resources, between academic institutions and industry. Exchange of staff and networking activities will bridge the scientific and cultural differences existing between the academic and industrial partners. Exchange of scientific knowledge and technical skill will unleash the full potential of the collective expertise of the participating laboratories towards the objectives of the proposal and will be instrumental in building collaborative links that will extend beyond the duration of the project."
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