Consortial Project 1




Started 2005

Consortial Project 1 investigated human genetic factors involved in resistance to severe malaria in order to better understand why, in regions where people are repeatedly exposed to malaria parasites, some people die from the infection while others survive.

Objectives & Coordination

Investigating the genetic determinants of resistance to malaria

A person’s risk of developing severe malaria is influenced by many different genetic and environmental factors, but we know relatively little about their precise nature and how they interact.

This project's primary objective was to better understand the human genetic factors involved in resistance to severe malaria. This information could provide vital clues about molecular mechanisms of protective immunity and host-parasite interactions, as well as accelerate the development of an effective vaccine.

There are many aspects to our work:

  • Leading research into the ethical issues inherit in these studies, for example informed consent, and data-sharing in low- and middle-income countries
  • Working with our partner studies to support the necessary clinical research infrastructure to gather standardised samples from many thousands of individuals in several malaria-endemic countries in Africa
  • Generating a large and unique data resource for case-control and family-based studies of genetic resistance and susceptibility to severe malaria
  • Developing methods to overcome the unique challenges confronting multi-centre genome-wide association studies (GWAS) in Africa, for example higher levels of genetic diversity, ethnic diversity, and population structure in Africa than on other continents
  • Supporting capacity building for genetic and genomic research amongst scientists in malaria-endemic countries.

This project began shortly after MalariaGEN was formed in 2005, and has greatly influenced our approach to collaborative science.

Sampling locations

Across the different partner studies, samples were collected from 11,890 children and adults with severe P. falciparum malaria and 17,441 healthy controls matched with the cases by ethnic group, providing a unique resource for case-control and family-based studies.

  • Burkina Faso (BF)
  • Cameroon (CM)
  • Ghana (GH)
  • Kenya (KE)
  • Malawi (MW)
  • Mali (ML)
  • Nigeria (NG)
  • Papua New Guinea (PG)
  • Tanzania (TZ)
  • The Gambia (GM)
  • Vietnam (VN)


The MalariaGEN human consortial projects have produced substantial data resources and collectively agreed to a managed access mechanism for releasing Human GWAS data sets.

For information on how to apply for access, see Human GWAS data.


9 Dec 2021

Host-parasite interactions: P. falciparum genome sequencing and genotypes from severe malaria cases

Host-parasite interaction using over 4,000 DNA samples from children confirmed to have severe malaria in the period 1995-2009 to test for association between human and P.falciparum genetic variants.

15 Aug 2019

Genome-wide study of resistance to severe malaria in eleven populations (version 2)

Genome-wide genotype data for 10,792 severe malaria- affected individuals and 10,063 controls from eleven worldwide populations; and direct typing of selected genetic variants in 15,865 severe malaria-affected individuals and 19,845 controls from the same populations.

20 Jan 2011

Gambia, Ghana, and Malawi Trios

EGA Study IDs: EGAS00000000087 (Gambia); EGAS00000000088 (Ghana)

Three populations: Gambia (658 trios; 1,984 individuals); Ghana (608 trios; 1,824 individuals); Malawi (122 trios; 366 individuals)
Method: Illumina 650Y array


21 Mar 2016

Genome-wide study of resistance to severe malaria in eleven populations (version 1)

EGA Study ID: EGAS00001001311

Three populations: Gambia (2,786 controls; 2,807 cases; 1 parents); Kenya (1,708 controls; 1,944 cases; 180 parents; 33 other); Malawi (1,498 controls; 1,590 cases)

30 Jun 2014

Imputation-based meta-analysis of severe malaria

EGA Study ID: EGAS00001000807

Three populations: Gambia (1,533 controls; 1,247 cases); Kenya (1,544 controls; 1,711 cases); Malawi (2,239 controls; 1,451 cases)

16 Mar 2011

Gambia Case-Control Study

EGA Study ID: EGAS00000000026

EGA Data Set IDs: EGAD00000000017 (1,496 controls); EGAD00000000018 (1,059 cases)

Method: Affymetrix 500K array


See a full list of those involved with the foundation of the MalariaGEN Consortium.

Dr Anthony Enimil

Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana
Senior Paediatrician
Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, Ghana

Dr Edith Bougouma

Centre National de Recherche et de Formation sur le Paludisme (CNRFP), Burkina Faso

Prof Eric Akum Achidi

University of Buea, Cameroon

Dr Giorgio Sirugo

Head, Genetics Center
Ospedale San Pietro Fatebenefratelli, Rome, Italy

Hugh Reyburn

London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, UK

Dr Kalifa Abubakr Bojang

Medical Research Council Unit, The Gambia

Prof Kevin Marsh

Professor of Tropical Medicine
Nuffield Department of Medicine, University of Oxford, UK
KEMRI Wellcome Trust Research Programme, Kenya

Dr Laurens Manning

Associate Professor
University of Western Australia
Infectious Diseases Physician
Department of Infectious Diseases, Fiona Stanley Hospital

Prof Mahamadou Thera

Malaria Research and Training Centre, University of Science, Techniques and Technologies of Bamako, Mali

Prof Malcolm Molyneux

Malawi-Liverpool-Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Programme

Prof Michael Wilson

Nogouchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, Legon-Accra, Ghana

Dr Muminatou Jallow

MRC Laboratories, The Gambia

Nguyen Thi Ngoc Quyen

Oxford University Clinical Research Unit (OUCRU), Vietnam

Dr Olukemi Amodu

University of Ibadan, Nigeria

Ousmane Boubacar Toure

Malaria Research and Training Centre, University of Science, Techniques and Technologies of Bamako, Mali

Dr Sodiomon Bienvenu Sirima

Executive Director
Centre National de Recherche et de Formation sur le Paludisme (CNRFP), Burkina Faso
Scientific Team Leader
Groupe de Recherche Action en Sante (GRAS) Burkina Faso

Prof Stephen Allen

Professor of Paediatrics
Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, UK
Honorary Consultant Paediatrician
Alder Hey Children's Hospital

Prof Terrie Taylor

Michigan State University, USA

Prof Tom Williams

Head of the Department of Epidemiology and Demography
KEMRI Wellcome Trust Research Programme, Kenya
Chair in Haemoglobinopathy Research
Imperial College London, UK

Prof Tsiri Agbenyega

College of Health Sciences, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana