The various methods commonly used for the detection of antimalarial antibodies employ, in nearly all instances, the erythrocytic stages of these parasites as antigen source (1). The antigenic components of the different stages of development of the malaria parasites, however, differ considerably, in spite of the existence of some shared or common antigens (2, 3). Furthermore, the common antigens do not account for all of the antigenic components of the parasites, nor do they include the functional, i.e., protective, antigens of the various developmental stages. This is suggested by the finding that rodents immunized with attenuated sporozoites become totally resistant to an otherwise lethal sporozoite inoculum, but remain fully susceptible to challenge with erythrocytic stages of the same parasite strain (4).
Anti-sporozoite antibodies, i.e., antibodies directed against the infective stages of all malaria parasites, have previously been shown to occur in avian and rodent malaria. In both instances, these antibodies were observed upon immunization of the animals with attenuated, irradiated sporozoites.
This work was supported by N.I.H. Research Grant AI 08952, N.I.H. Training Grant AI 00361 and grants from the World Health Organization and the Pan American Health Organization.