Hoffman says that he hopes to have a vaccine licensed within four years. The trial now needs to be repeated and extended in regions where malaria is rampant to test whether it provides protection against different strains of the parasite than that used in the vaccine, and to see how it performs in different age groups, including young children. The first trials will be carried out at the Ifakara Health Institute in Tanzania.
Even if the vaccine is shown to be highly effective in the field, logistical difficulties might limit its applicability. In mass vaccination campaigns, hundreds of people are vaccinated within minutes, so vaccines are usually given orally or by injection into or just under the skin. Intravenous injection is more cumbersome. “It’s very unlikely to be deployable in infants or young children,” argues Adrian Hill, a malaria researcher at the Jenner Institute in Oxford, UK.
During his seven week mission, Xavier Ding worked with local staff at the Centre Suisse de Recherche Scientifique (CSRS) to set up an MMV-CSRS lab and…
These data demonstrate that vaccination with chemically attenuated parasites induces protective immunity and provide a compelling rationale for testing a blood-stage parasite-based vaccine targeting human Plasmodium species.
Before adding silver to antibiotics, “we’ll have to address the toxicity very carefully”, says Fowler. Ingesting too much silver can also cause argyria, a condition in which the skin turns a blue-grey colour — and the effect is permanent.
Collins says that he and his colleagues saw good results in mice using non-toxic amounts of silver. But, he adds, there are ways to reduce the risk even further. “We’re also encouraging people to look at what features of silver caused the helpful effects, so they can look for non-toxic versions,” he says.
Researchers from Osaka University have developed a dry powder vaccine, called BK-SE36, from a genetically-modified protein found inside the parasite, which they mixed with aluminium hydroxyl gel.
“The vaccine’s effect is greater than those hitherto reported of any other anti-malaria vaccines,” a statement issued this week said, adding BK-SE36 is expected to reduce markedly the number of deaths caused by the mosquito-borne disease.
The vaccine has already undergone trials on adults in Japan and was also tested in a malaria-endemic area in northern Uganda between 2010 and 2011. Neither study found any safety problems.
A follow-up study of people in Uganda, aged between six and 20, found the vaccine lowered the number of people infected by malaria by 72 per cent.
The findings were published on Tuesday on the online US science journal PLOS One, according the statement.
The team uncovered a direct association between a specific gene family in the malaria parasite, known as cir genes, and the control of severity of the disease symptoms in mice. It appears that malaria parasite genes control the immune response of mice to the disease.
“Our research is helping to better understand vaccine targets,” says Dr Adam Reid, author from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. “RNA sequencing allowed us to identify a set of Plasmodium genes that control the immune response and the degree of severity of the disease in mice. We anticipate that we will be able to transfer the findings from our study in mice to human malaria studies, the next phase of our research.”
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