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Antibiotics for the prevention of malaria
Date:7/20/2010

e forms of the parasite, did not occur. The parasites that accumulated in the liver gave the immune system sufficient stimulus to develop robust, long-term immunity. After 40 days, four months, and six months, the researchers again infected the mice with sporozoites, this time without adding antibiotics. All animals had complete protection against malaria.

Transferability to humans

This of course raises the question of whether these results can be transferred to humans. Under field conditions, mosquito bites confront the human body with frequent, but rather low concentrations of parasites. When mimicking this infection mode in the mouse model, 30 percent of the mice were still protected. For 85 percent of the mice that were still infected, the malaria did not affect the brain, indicating a favorable prognosis.

"The antibiotics used are reasonably priced medicines with few and self-limiting side effects. The periodic, prophylactic administration of antibiotics to people in malaria regions has the potential to be used as a "needle-free", natural vaccination. This would give us an additional powerful tool against malaria," says Dr. Steffen Borrmann. Dr. Kai Matuschewski adds, "A major motivation for our study was to test a simple concept that can also be realized in malaria regions. We are convinced that weakened parasites offer the best protection against a complex parasitical disease such as malaria."

New options for future medicines

The antibiotics administered target the apicoplast of the parasites. That is a small cellular organ of bacterial origin that the parasites need to penetrate other cells of the host organism. But since the medication blocking the apicoplast does not prevent the sporozoites from reproducing in the liver cell, the immune system is exposed to the full antigen load of a natural infection. This is not the case for previously developed vaccines with radiated or genetically modified
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Contact: Dr. Steffen Borrmann
steffen.borrmann@urz.uni-heidelberg.de
49-62-215-67756
University Hospital Heidelberg
Source:Eurekalert

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