The reason behind why and how malaria parasites go unnoticed by the immune defences of pregnant mothers has been demystified by researchers.
According to a collaborative research between LSTM and the University of Copenhagen, the malaria parasites take on a camouflage that enables their presence to go undetected in the placenta, and therefore they are not attacked by the immune system.
Ironically, the camouflage adopted is itself an antibody, although a giant example called IgM that is very different to the IgG antibodies commonly used to attack the parasite.
The findings are fundamental to understanding immunity to this dangerous form of the disease and to developing a vaccine to protect pregnant women.
The study has been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.