Infectious Diseases


Malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, transmitted through the bite of an infected female mosquito, disables hundreds of millions of people worldwide each year. Parasites, called sporozoites, travel to the liver; mature and release another form, the merozoites. These enter the bloodstream, infect red blood cells and then rupture, infecting more red blood cells. By remodelling red blood cells (RBCs), the malaria parasite renders them stiff and sticky. It causes the RBCs to undergo structural and morphological changes, dramatically altering their physical properties and impairing circulation. In contrast to normal RBCs, parasitized RBCs are rigid and adhere to the lining of the blood vessels and other cell types.
Once the parasite infects RBCs, it produces proteins which are then exported across the membrane: P. facliparum erythrocyte membrane protein (PfEMP1), which allows infected cells to stick to blood vessels, and knobs made up of a second protein (knob associated histidine-rich protein or KAHRP).

In motion

Red Blood Cells infected with malaria parasite flowing through ICAM coated biochip at 0.5 dyne/cm²


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