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Dr. Jean Popovici and Dr. Tineke Cantaert from Institut Pasteur du Cambodge received substantial NIH (National Institutes of Health) support to characterize genetic factors and host immune responses associated to protection from clinical plasmodium vivax infection

Jean Popovici, head of the Malaria Research Unit and Tineke Cantaert, head of the Immunology Unit, both at Institut Pasteur du Cambodge, were recently awarded a R01 grant for the project “Comprehensive characterization of the genetic factors and the host immune response associated to protection from clinical Plasmodium vivax”.


The R01 grants from the USA NIH are highly competitive and provide the researchers funding for 5 years. Importantly, it is the first time that Institut Pasteur du Cambodge is direct recipient of such grant. This project, performed in collaboration with David Serre at University of Maryland USA, aims at understanding the host immune and genetic factors as well as parasite characteristics that are associated with protection from clinical Plasmodium vivax malaria.


The objectives are: 1/ to elucidate the mechanisms driving the development of broadly inhibiting anti-Plasmodium vivax antibodies, 2/ to identify host and parasite genetic factors associated to protection and 3/ to uncover immune pathways of protection and novel potential antigenic targets.


Accomplishment of these goals will be reached by leveraging a longitudinal Plasmodium vivax patient cohort in Cambodia displaying contrasted clinical outcome of infection, in combination with state-of-the art immunological technologies on site and the ability to perform short-term cultures of Plasmodium vivax. 


These analyses will provide invaluable information to design evidence-based intervention and vaccine strategies for the elimination of this important human malaria parasite.