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Plasmodium invasion of red blood cells involves malaria proteins, such as reticulocyte-binding protein homolog 5 (RH5), RH5 interacting protein (RIPR), cysteine-rich protective antigen (CyRPA), apical membrane antigen 1 (AMA1) and rhoptry neck protein 2 (RON2), all of which are blood-stage malaria vaccine candidates. So far, vaccines containing AMA1 alone have been unsuccessful in clinical trials. However, immunization with AMA1 bound with RON2L (AMA1-RON2L) induces better protection against P. falciparum malaria in Aotus monkeys. We therefore sought to determine whether combinations of RH5, RIPR, CyRPA and AMA1-RON2L antibodies improve their biological activities and sought to develop a robust method for determination of synergy or additivity in antibody combinations. Rabbit antibodies against AMA1-RON2L, RH5, RIPR or CyRPA were tested either alone or in combinations in P. falciparum growth inhibition assay to determine Bliss' and Loewe's additivities. The AMA1-RON2L/RH5 combination consistently demonstrated an additive effect while the CyRPA/RIPR combination showed a modest synergistic effect with Hewlett's [Formula: see text] Additionally, we provide a publicly-available, online tool to aid researchers in analyzing and planning their own synergy experiments. This study supports future blood-stage vaccine development by providing a solid methodology to evaluate additive and/or synergistic (or antagonistic) effect of vaccine-induced antibodies.

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Antibodies, Protozoan, Antigens, Protozoan, Erythrocytes, Immunization, Immunoglobulin G, Life Cycle Stages, Malaria Vaccines, Plasmodium falciparum, Protozoan Proteins