This post was most recently updated on May 5th, 2016
A number of genetic factors provide some resistance to infection by various Plasmodium spp. Hemoglobin S, thalassemia, and glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase or G6PD deficiency are associated with increased resistance to Plasmodium falciparum.
- People with G6PD deficiency are also protected against the severe effects of falciparum malaria.
- Individual with Sickle cell trait (heterozygotes) are protected against malaria because their red blood cells have too little ATPase activity and can not produce sufficient energy to support the growth of the parasite. People with homozygous sickle cell anemia are also protected but rarely live long enough to obtain much benefit.
- Apparently, the duffy negative RBC’s convey increased resistance to infection with Plasmodium vivax. The receptor for P. vivax is the duffy blood group antigen. More than 90% black west africans and many of their american descendants do not produce the duffy antigen and are thereby resistance to vivax malaria.