Sticky blood progress on malaria in children

October 5, 2007

Swedish researchers have uncovered why a particularly serious form of malaria in children causes blood to become sticky, which can cause potentially life threatening problems.

The scientists at Karolinska Institutet and the Swedish Institute for Infectious Disease Control found that the malaria bacteria produces proteins that act like a glue and bind with blood cells and blood vessel walls, thus blocking the vessels.

If researchers can identify enough adhesive proteins causing severe malaria, a vaccine could be designed. There are currently no vaccines that prevent the development of malaria or cure seriously infected people. Makerere University and Medical Biotech Laboratories in Uganda are also collaborating on the research.

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