The study of antigenic targets of naturally-acquired immunity is essential to identify and prioritize antigens for further functional characterization. We measured total IgG antibodies to 38 P. vivax antigens, investigating their relationship with prospective risk of malaria in a cohort of 1-3 years old Papua New Guinean children. Using simulated annealing algorithms, the potential protective efficacy of antibodies to multiple antigen-combinations, and the antibody thresholds associated with protection were investigated for the first time. High antibody levels to multiple known and newly identified proteins were strongly associated with protection (IRR 0.44-0.74, p<0.001-0.041). Among five-antigen combinations with the strongest protective effect (>90%), EBP, DBPII, RBP1a, CyRPA, and PVX_081550 were most frequently identified; several of them requiring very low antibody levels to show a protective association. These data identify individual antigens that should be prioritized for further functional testing and establish a clear path to testing a multicomponent P. vivax vaccine.
Keywords: IgG antibody; Plasmodium vivax; clinical malaria; epidemiology; global health; natural immunity; protection; vaccine.