Malaria preventive therapy in pregnancy and its potential impact on immunity to malaria in an area of declining transmission

26 May 2015
Teo A1, Hasang W, Randall LM, Unger HW, Siba PM, Mueller I, Brown GV, Rogerson SJ

Regular anti-malarial therapy in pregnancy, a pillar of malaria control, may affect malaria immunity, with therapeutic implications in regions of reducing transmission.


Plasma antibodies to leading vaccine candidate merozoite antigens and opsonizing antibodies to endothelial-binding and placental-binding infected erythrocytes were quantified in pregnant Melanesian women receiving sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) with chloroquine taken once, or three courses of SP with azithromycin.


Malaria prevalence was low. Between enrolment and delivery, antibodies to recombinant antigens declined in both groups (p<0.0001). In contrast, median levels of opsonizing antibodies did not change, although levels for some individuals changed significantly. In multivariate analysis, the malaria prevention regimen did not influence antibody levels.


Different preventive anti-malarial chemotherapy regimens used during pregnancy had limited impact on malarial-immunity in a low-transmission region of Papua New Guinea.