A natural killer (NK) cell binds to a malaria-infected red blood cell and destroys it. Credit: Weijian Ye, Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology
Malaria severity depends on immune cells variations - science news

According to new research, the severity of malaria is influenced by the failure of some components of the immune system to effectively destroy infected blood cells.

Basically, a type of immune cells (NK – natural killer) cannot activate a genetic programme required to fight the disease. This doesn’t happen in all individuals, due to variations in the NK cells, and it explains why some people are more likely to experience more severe symptoms of malaria.

Researchers managed to re-activate these cells in the lab, suggesting the possibility to develop treatments that could reduce the severity of malaria.

Read the full story: MIT
Scientific publication: PLOS Pathogens