Malaria and helminth coinfection: new insights for malaria control
Malaria and helminth infections often coincide geographically in tropical regions. The implications of concomitant malaria and helminth infections have been mainly explored in animal models indicating that their interaction can alter the course of malaria infection and disease. In recent years it has become clear that chronic helminth infections alter the immune system both at the innate and the adaptive level affecting responses to third party antigens.
Few studies in human populations have so far shown contradictory results; helminth co-infections seem to either exacerbate or curtail severity of malarial disease. It is important to gain in-depth knowledge of the interaction between these parasites in humans in the context of controlling malarial parasites and clinical disease. Much effort is going into developing vaccines; these have to be delivered to populations living in areas endemic for helminths. If there are strong interactions, then vaccine efficacy will be affected.
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