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Parasitic Diseases

The CVD has a large, active laboratory and field research program in parasitology, with a strong focus on malaria. The Salmonella Live Vector Vaccine Unit is developing new malaria vaccine candidates using Salmonella species to express malaria antigens. The insectary and Plasmodium cultivation facility make the CVD one of the few centers in the country capable of conducting malaria challenge studies, in which volunteers are exposed to bites of infected mosquitoes to test the protection offered by malaria vaccines. Studies of the molecular mechanisms and molecular epidemiology of drug-resistant malaria are conducted in the Malaria Section, using recombinant DNA and transfection techniques. Simple molecular assays for detecting drug-resistant genotypes of Plasmodium falciparum have been developed and these technologies are being transferred to laboratories in malaria-endemic developing countries. Studies of drug resistance, population genetics and pathogenesis are being conducted in collaboration with colleagues in Malawi, Mali and Tanzania, and a new field site for testing malaria vaccines is being established in Mali. The Malaria Section also provides domestic and international training opportunities in clinical tropical medicine and malaria research. CVD faculty frequently serve as expert advisors to national and international agencies on malaria research and control.