A new vaccine approach that delivers a one-two punch could give the immune system an edge against malaria, AIDS and other exigent diseases in people, Adrian Hill and colleagues report in the June issue of Nature Medicine.
The researchers tested their method using a malaria vaccine in human volunteers. They first treated the volunteers with the parasite’s DNA, followed by a boost with a modified poxvirus that expresses parasite proteins. The ‘prime’ and ‘boost’ contained distinctly different proteins from the parasite.
Neither DNA nor poxvirus in isolation induced a potent response, the team found. But the combination ramped up the activation of T cells -- a subset of immune cells -- and provided partial protection against malaria infection. The approach has the potential to outshine more conventional experimental vaccines against malaria. Similar vaccine approaches have already shown promise in AIDS vaccine trials.
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