The following is a summary of “Natural History of Malaria Infections During Early Childhood in Twins,” published in the January 2023 issue of Infectious Diseases by Gonçalves, et al.

In epidemiological studies, malaria infection prevalence and clinical manifestation exhibited substantial variety. The difficulty in measuring all pertinent components, however, prevented a greater understanding of the diversity. For a study, researchers discussed the history of malaria infections in twins that had the same in-utero environment, had the same genetic makeup, and experienced the same vector exposure.

A Malian longitudinal birth cohort provided the data. Antibody responses and malaria infection were studied in 25 pairs of twins. To estimate the number of infections during follow-up, Bayesian models were created.

In 16 out of 25 pairings, both children had the infection and often showed symptoms. Only 1 twin was infected in 8 of 25 pairings, although generally just once or twice. According to statistical models, the trend was consistent, with identical twin siblings having the same rate of underlying infection. In a pair of children with different hemoglobin genotypes, the kid with hemoglobin AS consistently had reduced parasite densities, albeit antibody levels were identical.

They demonstrated the significance of environmental variables, as suggested by the between-twin pair heterogeneity in malaria history, and explained residual variance in malaria phenotypes in naturally matched children using a new approach.