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Sunday 23rd October 2016

New approach to malaria vaccine

21st December 2011

New research from UK scientists has found that a potential new malaria vaccine has shown promise in animal studies.


The team from Oxford University is now planning to start safety trials in human volunteers within the next two or three years after lab tests showed the vaccine works against all strains of the parasite.

Researchers, who recently found the route malaria uses to enter blood cells, hope to target this pathway in a new approach to developing a vaccine against malaria.

Several potential malaria vaccines are already being tested in clinical trials, though none have yet been licensed for use and early clinical trials in Africa suggest a vaccine known as RTS,S appears to protect about half of people vaccinated from malaria.

Dr Sandy Douglas, a Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Training Fellow from the University of Oxford and first author on the study, said: “We have found a way of making antibodies that kill all different strains of malaria parasites. This is still early phase research in animals. The next step is to do clinical trials in people.”

Malaria, which is caused by parasites injected into the bloodstream by infected mosquitoes, killed about 781,000 people in 2009, mainly children and pregnant women, according to the World Malaria Report 2010.

Scientists from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute found in November that a single receptor on the surface of red blood cells and a substance known as PfRh5 on the parasite were crucial to the success of malaria in invading blood cells.


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