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The Plasmodium falciparum erythrocyte membrane protein 1 antigens that are inserted onto the surface of P. falciparum infected erythrocytes play a key role both in the pathology of severe malaria and as targets of naturally acquired immunity. They might be considered unlikely vaccine targets because they are extremely diverse. However, several lines of evidence suggest that underneath this molecular diversity there are a restricted set of epitopes which may act as effective targets for a vaccine against severe malaria. Here we review some of the recent developments in this area of research, focusing on work that has assessed the potential of these molecules as possible vaccine targets.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





171 - 186


PfEMP1, immunity, malaria, vaccine, variant surface antigens, Humans, Immunity, Innate, Malaria Vaccines, Malaria, Falciparum, Plasmodium falciparum, Protozoan Proteins