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Researchers discover biochemical weakness of malaria parasite -- vaccine to be developed
Date:6/7/2011

arasite's hooks are long proteins which are difficult to produce artificially in the lab when developing of a vaccine.

After intensive research efforts, the researchers have now succeeded in identifying a fragment of the placenta hook (VAR2CSA) which not only is crucial for the parasite's ability to attach itself to the placenta, but also is possible to produce artificially for a vaccine.

"A vaccine must stimulate the immune system to quickly attack something foreign in the body. Therefore, it was a matter of finding the part of the placenta hook, which the parasite cannot manage without and which we could target a vaccine against," says Associate Professor Ali Salanti.

With a grant of 15 million DKK (approximately 3 million USD) from the Danish National Advanced Technology Foundation and close corporation with two Danish biotech companies, the researchers can now start developing the vaccine and take it through the first trials to test its safety.

Ali Salanti and his colleagues will collaborate with the biotech companies ExpreS2ion Biotechnologies and CMC Biologics A/S to develop a method for mass production of the vaccine.

Once this has fallen into place, the researchers can start up the clinical trials on animals and human beings. If the trials are successful the parasistologists from the University of Copenhagen and their partners will make a significant contribution in reaching the UN's Millennium Development goal number 4 and 5. These two goals encourage every country in the world to work on lowering global child mortality with two thirds and maternal mortality with three quarters.


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Contact: Associate Professor Ali Salanti
salanti@sund.ku.dk
452-875-7676
University of Copenhagen
Source:Eurekalert

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