Public Health Resources


Date of this Version



Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2007 June ; 76(6): 995–996.


Copyright © 2007 by The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene


Most of what we presume to understand of naturally acquired immunity to Plasmodium falciparum malaria comes from studies in sub-Saharan Africa. The virtual absence of P. vivax malaria from most of that region leaves three important questions not addressed: 1) What is naturally acquired immunity to P. vivax malaria; 2) do the mechanisms of natural immunity to P. falciparum and P. vivax malaria differ, and 3) what influence does one species exert on acquisition of immunity to the other? Naturally acquired immunity requires repeated and frequent exposure to infection, and few places offer sufficient exposure to both P. falciparum and P. vivax to allow examination of these questions.