Magazine article Science News

Malaria Vaccine a Hit in Early Test: Inactivated Parasite Provokes Effective Immune Response

Magazine article Science News

Malaria Vaccine a Hit in Early Test: Inactivated Parasite Provokes Effective Immune Response

Article excerpt

The long, bumpy path to a malaria vaccine may have hit a smooth stretch as an early-stage study finds that multiple injections with inactivated malaria parasites can protect against the disease.

The study was small, and the vaccine required five intravenously delivered doses to work, which would be an obstacle for teams attempting mass vaccination in developing countries. Also, the shots were tested in adults, not children, who are the prime victims of malaria.

Still, the study offers decidedly good news, says Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in Bethesda, Md., which sponsored the research. "This is an important advance," he says, noting that the vaccine induces an immune onslaught that kills the malaria parasite in its infective sporozoite stage. That means uninfected mosquitoes that bite a vaccinated person don't get infected, slowing the disease's spread.

Researchers gave four or five shots to 15 volunteers over several months. The volunteers were then bitten repeatedly by malarial mosquitoes. A few weeks later, 12 had no disease, including all six who got the full five doses, the researchers report August 8 in Science. All but one of the unvaccinated volunteers got sick and received treatment promptly.

Scientists already knew that weakened versions of malaria sporozoites could induce immunity in people. To weaken sporozoites for a vaccine, researchers irradiated infected mosquitoes, damaging the parasites inside them. Then the researchers used the damaged parasites to elicit an immune response in people. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.