WP1 Recognition of parasite proteins by antibodies

Lead participant: University of Edinburgh

In this WP we expect to produce, within the lifetime of the project, harmonised methods to evaluate and measure antibody reactivity against parasite proteins. These assays will use either sera from malaria-exposed humans or antibodies raised in immunised animals. Recombinant antigens and other vaccine delivery platforms may not always elicit humoral immune responses which are either; a) similar or identical to those elicited by natural infection, or, b) capable of recognising the natural parasite antigen as displayed by the parasite itself. It is necessary therefore to confirm by immunofluorescence (IFA) or by Western blotting (WB) that any vaccine antigen can elicit such antibodies, and that there is a measurable and specific recognition of parasite antigens. This workpackage will develop, establish and disseminate harmonised assays which are easily reproducible. 

The key activities include:

  •  Selecting methods for detecting parasite antigens, such as IFA and WB. Priority will be given to methods which are easy to use and reproducible
  • Comparing methods for detection of parasite antigens and identifications of key issues
  • Identify one method to be selected and further developed as possible reference assay  
  • Identify reagents suitable for detection of parasite proteins. This will be dependent on the assays selected
  • Produce positive and negative controls
  • Agreement on a standard SOP to be optimized and harmonized
  • Assay harmonization and testing of intra and inter laboratory assay variability
  • Inter-laboratory training, training of 1-2 African scientists in the Afro-Immuno-Assay network