Large-scale production of an effective malaria vaccine may be possible in future, according to a report published online by Nature. Malaria kills over a million people every year, especially children and particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. Malaria affects 300 to 500 million people worldwide; causing attacks of acute illness and is increasingly resistant to conventional treatments and prophylactics.
When an infected female Anopheles mosquito bites a person, the Plasmodium parasite can enter the body and infect liver cells. Ann-Kristin Mueller and colleagues used reverse genetics to weaken the parasite by removing its uis3 gene, which it needs to progress to the next stage of its life cycle and eventually cause disease. Mice injected with these weakened parasites developed immunity against normal infectious Plasmodium. This paves the way to an effective human vaccine.
Ann-Kristin Mueller (Heidelberg University School of Medicine, Germany)
Tel: +49 6221 565010, E-mail: Ann_Kristin_Mueller@med.uni-heidelberg.de
(C) Nature press release.
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