Sunday, 25 May 2014
New Malaria Vaccine Under Development
American scientists are developing a new vaccine against the killer disease malaria following research on children in Tanzania.
Tests on mice showed that the vaccine protects against the disease and those involved in the study hope that it will be safe and effective in humans.
In the trial with mice, the vaccine doubled the lifespan of the rodents infected with the Plasmodium parasites that cause malaria and reduced the number of parasites by three quarters.
The vaccine takes a new approach to tackling the disease. Other potential vaccines try to stop the parasites entering the red blood cells - an earlier stage of the Plasmodium life cycle.
One of the lead researchers, Jonathan Kurtis, explained that this mechanism would need to work in tandem with other vaccines aimed at other parts of the cycle. It does not eliminate the parasites but reduces them to a level that can ease the symptoms.
The World Health Organisation estimates that 627,000 people die from malaria each year. Most of those deaths are of children under the age of five living in sub-Saharan Africa.
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