Malaria mums ‘pass lower immunity on’

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MOTHERS who receive treatment for malaria infection may pass on lower levels of natural immunity to their young, according to researchers at Edinburgh University.

Scientists investigated the impact of anti-malarial drugs on the levels of antibodies passed from female mice to their offspring, which help protect the young from disease in the first months of life.

They found that female mice which had been treated with drugs for a malaria infection before becoming pregnant passed on fewer anti-malarial antibodies to their young.

Scientists said this may be because being exposed to a full-blown bout of malaria gives the mother’s immune system the chance to produce protective antibodies to pass on to offspring. Drug treatment cuts this process short.

Dr Vincent Staszewski said: “Some treatments against disease before or during pregnancy might be beneficial.”