Platelets found in the blood are the first line of defence in patients with malaria, killing up to 60 per cent of the malarial parasites circulating in the bloodstream. 

The study published in the journal Blood found that platelets bind to and kill parasites in patients infected with each of the major malaria parasite species which infect and kill humans, Plasmodium falciparum, P. vivax, P. malariae and P. knowlesi. 

The study,  involved 376 people, with and without malaria, from Papua, Indonesia and Sabah, Malaysia. 

The process of killing the parasites is triggered by a toxic platelet peptide called PF4. PF4-based peptides could be potential candidates for malaria treatment in the future.

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