Rosenkranz Prize-winner tackling malaria in pregnant women

Prasanna Jagannathan
Prasanna Jagannathan (left) is the 2018 winner of the Rosenkranz Prize, which will allow him to work on developing a malaria vaccine for pregnant women. (Image courtesy of FSI)

Malaria claims nearly half-a-million lives worldwide each year. Yet, we know little about the immunology of the disease that has plagued humanity for centuries.

There were 216 million cases in 2016, according to the World Health Organization. Sub-Saharan Africa carries 80 percent of the global burden of the mosquito-borne infectious disease which devastates families, disrupts education and promotes the vicious cycle of poverty.

Malaria is particularly brutal to pregnant women, who are three times more likely to suffer from a severe form of the disease, leading to lower birthweight among their newborns and higher rates of miscarriage, premature births and stillborn deliveries.

“Pregnant women and their unborn children are more susceptible to the adverse consequences of malaria, so we are working to investigate new strategies and even lay the foundation for a vaccine to prevent malaria in pregnancy,” said PRASANNA JAGANNATHAN, MD, an assistant professor of medicine who is this year’s recipient of the Rosenkranz Prize.

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