US-India collaboration find molecular signatures of severe m
The malaria parasite can cause unusually severe cases of the eponymous disease in patients, leading to higher mortality and poorer health outcomes among survivors. But scientists have long struggled to understand why some patients develop severe malaria.
The University of Washington’s International Center of Excellence for Malaria Research in South Asia — along with partners at the Center for Infectious Disease Research (CIDR) and Goa Medical College (GMC) of India — have discovered that specific types of parasite proteins, when combined with high parasite biomass, strongly predict severe malaria disease in adults. The discovery, published May 16 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is a significant advancement in understanding the causes of severe malaria. Quantitative characterization of disease presentations and biotechnology capabilities at the ICEMR lab at Goa Medical College combined with specialized assays for molecular host-parasite interactions and machine learning tools at the CIDR helped unlock the mysteries of what leads to the development of severe malaria disease.

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