Antibody That Helps Protect Women Against Pregnancy-Associated Malaria Not Present in HIV-Positive Women, Study Says
An antibody to pregnancy-associated malaria that is present in some women who have been pregnant more than once is not present in HIV-positive women, according to a study published in the May issue of PLoS Medicine, ANI/newKerala.com reports. Women who are pregnant for the first time are at greatest risk pregnancy-associated malaria, a condition that occurs when red blood cells infected with malaria parasites are concentrated in the placenta, according to ANI/newKerala.com. Women who have been pregnant more than once are more resistant to the condition, ANI/newKerala.com reports.
For the study, Kevin Kain, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Toronto, and colleagues collected plasma samples from pregnant Kenyan women, some of whom were HIV-positive. Researchers found that women who had more than one pregnancy had an antibody that could clear parasites in their placentas, but the antibody was not present among HIV-positive women. According to ANI/newKerala.com, HIV-positive women who have had multiple pregnancies are as susceptible as first-time pregnant women to pregnancy-associated malaria.
Kain said that the study "is only the first step in creating therapeutics" for pregnancy-associated malaria, adding, "We hope to help translate this knowledge into more effective vaccines designed to generate these types of protective antibodies" (ANI/newKerala.com, 5/30).
The study is available online.