Investigating the mechanisms underlying the relationship between severe anaemia and bacterial infections


  • Kelvin Abuga

    Kemri-Wellcome Trust Research Programme, Kenya

Project summary

Bacteria require iron to grow and multiply. The human immune system protects against bacterial infections by restricting access to iron, a process termed ?nutritional immunity?. I previously found that hospitalised children with severe anaemia were more likely to have invasive bacterial infections with specific bacteria. This could be due to disruption of their immune responses and/or disturbances of their iron control systems. I propose to investigate how severe anaemia affects immune responses to bacterial infections and to vaccines against bacteria. I will further explore the effects of severe anaemia on iron control systems during bacterial infections. I will analyse data and samples from bacterial vaccine trials and hospitalised children spanning over a period of 21 years. I anticipate that the findings from this project will influence the treatment and management options of children with severe anaemia in sub-Saharan Africa.