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UM School of Medicine scientists find new malaria vaccine is safe and promotes immune response in children
Date:2/6/2010

le using medications, though drug resistance is a relatively common problem. Eradicating the disease has become a priority for scientists and health officials worldwide. An effective and broadly protective vaccine is a key step toward that goal.

In addition to the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's support of Dr. Plowe's research, the study was sponsored by the U.S. Army and funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

The new vaccine, called FMP2.1/AS02A, was developed as part of a longstanding research collaboration between the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals (GSK). The vaccine consists of a form of the AMA-1 protein, invented and manufactured by WRAIR, and the AS02 Adjuvant System, developed and manufactured by GSK. The Adjuvant System is a compound that boosts the immune response to the vaccine. Previous studies in the U.S. and in Mali already have found the vaccine to be safe and to produce strong immune responses in adults.

The vaccine, based on a single strain of the falciparum malaria parasite the most common and deadliest form of the parasite found in Africa targets malaria in the blood stage. The blood stage is the period after the mosquito bite, when the parasite multiplies in the blood, causing disease and death. Other blood stage vaccines have been tested but none has shown the ability to prevent malaria disease.

For the study, the University of Maryland School of Medicine's CVD team collaborated with a group of Malian researchers from the Malaria Research and Training Center, led by Mahamadou Thera, M.D., Ph.D., and Ogobara Doumbo M.D., Ph.D. The study also included collaborators WRAIR, GSK Biologicals, NIAID and USAID.

The scientists tested the vaccine in 100 Malian children ages 1-6 at the Bandiagara Malaria Project in ru
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Contact: Karen Buckelew
kbuckelew@som.umaryland.edu
410-706-7590
University of Maryland Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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