Prenatal malaria exposure and infant health and development: a prospective birth cohort study (PRiME)


  • Dr Donnie Mategula

    Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine

Project summary

Malaria is a major contributor to childhood illness and death. Development of protective immunity is key to the survival of children in areas where malaria is endemic. Evidence suggests that the development of an immune response to malaria in early childhood may already start in early pregnancy when the mother gets infected with malaria. In some children, early exposure to malaria in utero hinders the development of their own immune responses to malaria when they acquire their first malaria infections, placing them at enhanced risk of clinical malaria and severe anaemia during early childhood. Malaria in pregnancy may also damage the functionality of the placenta and reduce the transfer of protective antibodies against malaria and against other infections such as pneumonia, tetanus and measles, from the mother to the unborn baby. This may cause changes to the development of the immune system of the child and also affect the child’s growth and susceptibility to malaria and other diseases and immune response to vaccinations.

We will determine the association between malaria in pregnancy and childhood illness by following all babies born to women enrolled in a large trial of new preventive strategies for pregnant women to reduce malaria throughout infancy. This study will mainly use data from two funded studies.

This grant was awarded under the scheme's previous name of Master's Fellowships in Public Health and Tropical Medicine.