12 August 2013
Guest Contributor

Early promise for malaria vaccine

A NEW malaria vaccine that mimics the effects of mosquito bites has shown early promise by offering 100 per cent protection to a dozen human volunteers, researchers say.

Article from The Australian – August 12, 2013

Malaria Vaccine

Maryland-based Sanaria’s PfSPZ vaccine contains live parasites and is complicated to make because it requires scientists to dissect the salivary glands of mosquitoes to get at the parasites that cause malaria.

These sporozoites are then weakened so they cannot cause illness and incorporated into a vaccine, which must be injected into a person’s veins several times, with each shot about a month apart.

A test of the same vaccine two years ago that administered it into the skin of patients, the way most vaccines are given, showed protection in only two of 44 volunteers.

But the latest trial showed that injecting the vaccine into the bloodstream protected against malaria in all six volunteers who received a five-shot regimen at the highest dosage, according to the results published in the US journal Science.

The study included 57 people, including 40 who received the vaccine in varying doses, and 17 controls.

Co-author Robert Seder at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases told Science the findings were “very promising” but that the vaccine needed more study.

“We need to repeat it in a larger number of people.”

Lead researcher Stephen Hoffman, the chief executive of Sanaria, said he believed the vaccine would eventually be used to eliminate malaria.

“It’s reasonable to suggest that within three-to-five years, a safe, reliable vaccine could be a commercial reality and provide medical benefit to a huge population,” he said.

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Pacific Friends of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria is a high-level advocacy organisation which seeks to mobilise regional awareness of the serious threat posed by HIV & AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria to societies and economies in the Pacific. In pursuing its goals Pacific Friends has a specific interest in highlighting the need to protect the rights of women and children in the Pacific.

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