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Antibody That Helps Protect Women Against Pregnancy-Associated Malaria Not Present in HIV-Positive Women, Study Says

June 1, 2007

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/ 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/ Women who have been pregnant more than once are more resistant to the condition, ANI/ 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/, 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/, 5/30).

Online The study is available online.

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