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Nature 263, 767 - 769 (28 October 1976); doi:10.1038/263767a0

Culture of human malaria parasites Plasmodium falciparum

J. DAVID HAYNES, CARTER L. DIGGS, FRED A. HINES & ROBERT E. DESJARDINS

Departments of Immunology, Parasitic Diseases and Pharmacology, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Washington, DC 20012

MALARIA is a major cause of morbidity and mortality, claiming an estimated one million lives a year in Africa alone1. Plasmodium falciparum, the most important agent of human malaria, has not been maintained for more than 2–6 d in vitro 2–10. The development of a vaccine for malaria depends on suitable culture methods for the production of relevant antigens1. We describe here a new culture method for P. falciparum, which involves an inoculum of cryopre-served parasites and make possible an analysis of merozoite–erythrocyte interactions, growth for more than 3 weeks in vitro and the collection of merozoites. Merozoites are of particular interest because vaccination with the merozoites of P. knowlesi protects rhesus monkeys from infection with this species of malaria parasite11.

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