Volume 98, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



Controlled human malaria infection (CHMI) by direct venous inoculation (DVI) with 3,200 cryopreserved sporozoites (PfSPZ) consistently leads to parasitemia and malaria symptoms in malaria-naive adults. We used CHMI by DVI to investigate infection rates, parasite kinetics, and malaria symptoms in lifelong malaria–exposed (semi-immune) Gabonese adults with and without sickle cell trait. Eleven semi-immune Gabonese with normal hemoglobin (IA), nine with sickle cell trait (IS), and five nonimmune European controls with normal hemoglobin (NI) received 3,200 PfSPZ by DVI and were followed 28 days for parasitemia by thick blood smear (TBS) and quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) and for malaria symptoms. End points were time to parasitemia and parasitemia plus symptoms. PfSPZ Challenge was well tolerated and safe. Five of the five (100%) NI, 7/11 (64%) IA, and 5/9 (56%) IS volunteers developed parasitemia by TBS, and 5/5 (100%) NI, 9/11 (82%) IA, and 7/9 (78%) IS by qPCR, respectively. The time to parasitemia by TBS was longer in IA (geometric mean 16.9 days) and IS (19.1 days) than in NA (12.6 days) volunteers ( = 0.016, 0.021, respectively). Five of the five, 6/9, and 1/7 volunteers with parasitemia developed symptoms ( = 0.003, NI versus IS). Naturally adaptive immunity (NAI) to malaria significantly prolonged the time to parasitemia. Sickle cell trait seemed to prolong it further. NAI plus sickle cell trait, but not NAI alone, significantly reduced symptom rate. Twenty percent (4/20) semi-immunes demonstrated sterile protective immunity. Standardized CHMI with PfSPZ Challenge is a powerful tool for dissecting the impact of innate and naturally acquired adaptive immunity on malaria.

[open-access] This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


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  • Received : 30 Apr 2017
  • Accepted : 02 Nov 2017
  • Published online : 18 Dec 2017

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