Dr Freya Fowkes pictured with the Centre for Immunology's Damien Drew
Head of Burnet Institute’s Malaria Epidemiology Group, Dr Freya Fowkes has co-written a perspective, which appeared in the latest issue of Science.
The perspective reflects on research by Oxford University researcher, Dr Jessica Metcalf, which presents a new approach mathematically modeling malaria.
“The mathematical model has important implications for our understanding and interpretation of protective immunity to Plasmodium parasites and has potential to be used in clinical trials,” Dr Fowkes said.
Quantifying Malaria Dynamics Within the Host – From Science VOL 333
Karen P. Day and Freya J. I. Fowkes
Generations of malariologists have been intrigued by the mechanisms that control the number of malaria parasites living in the bloodstream (i.e., the extent of parasitemia) in an infected human host.
Past studies have shown that parasite numbers rise and fall during infection (see the figure) (1) and that parasitemia is regulated by an array of forces, including human immune defenses, interactions among the parasites themselves, and the availability of resources, such as the red blood cells that the parasites invade.
On page 984 of this issue, Metcalf et al. (2) take an important step toward better understanding of these controls. Drawing on data from mice, they present a new statistical approach to analyzing how parasitemia changes over time and to quantifying and comparing the roles played by the immune system and the availability of red blood cells in regulating parasite numbers.
CLICK HERE for full perspective.