Texas researchers to study whether malaria infection protects against Ebola

Researchers at the Texas Biomedical Research Institute in San Antonio plan to investigate whether malaria could offer protection against the Ebola virus, according to Texas Standard.

Here are three things to know:

1. Olena Shtanko, PhD, a researcher at Texas Biomed, will lead the research. She theorizes that an acute, recent malaria infection protects individuals against Ebola, while chronic malaria infection makes individuals more susceptible to Ebola.

"We are going to infect mice with [the] malarian parasite, and then these mice are going to be challenged with the Ebola virus," she told Texas Standard. "We are basically going to ask a question: Is [the] malarian parasite protective or not?"

2. Texas Biomedical received a research grant from the National Institutes of Health to conduct the study over the next two years.

3. Dr. Shtanko said the research could shine light on the human immune system and its response to Ebola.

"We have not been studying this, ever — we actually don't understand anything about it. So, this is going to open a brand-new avenue for us to know how to target the diseases — not only Ebola, but other diseases that act on us in a similar manner," she told Texas Standard.

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