ASTMH 2017, Robert Verity: "Variation at the var2csa locus: Results from a cross-sectional study in Democratic Republic of Congo"
In collaboration with ASTMH, Image Audiovisuals, and session presenters, MESA brings you this webcast from the 66th ASTMH annual meeting in Baltimore, November 2017
Title: "Variation at the var2csa locus: Results from a cross-sectional study in Democratic Republic of Congo"
Speaker: Robert Verity, Imperial College London
Wednesday, 8 November, 10:15 - 12:00 PM, Convention Center - Room 321/322/323 (Level 300)
P. falciparum affects over 1 million pregnancies in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) each year, placing both pregnant women and newborns at risk. The adverse effects of pregnancy associated malaria (PAM) are mediated by the binding of infected erythrocytes to the placental microvasculature via the VAR2CSA surface antigen. Using next generation deep sequencing, we categorized the diversity of the var2csa gene in 120 survey cluster sites from the 2013-4 Demographic and Health Survey in DRC. We found that var2csa is highly variable. We identified 583 different haplotypes, only about 1/3 of which were found in 2 or more clusters. Our results indicate that there is extensive connectivity and gene flow across large parts of DRC, combined with balancing selection maintaining diversity at this locus. These results impact on how we perceive and manage parasite populations within DRC, and ultimately our ability to develop an effective vaccine against PAM.