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Whole-parasite malaria vaccine shows promise in University of Maryland School of Medicine clinical trial
Date:9/9/2011

reat in warm, tropical areas where infected mosquitoes thrive, such as Africa. Malaria, caused by a parasite transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito, kills nearly one million people and infects 300 million annually worldwide. The condition can be treated with anti-parasite drugs, but can have fatal consequences for vulnerable patients who have no immunity to the disease. Children under the age of five succumb at high rates to the neurological and cardiac effects of malaria, particularly in Africa.

Researchers found that the vaccine produced a partial protective response in the 80 volunteers who were immunized subcutaneously, or under the skin, by traditional needle and syringe in the trial at the Center for Vaccine Development in Baltimore. However, this response was significantly less than the 80 percent to 90 percent protective immunity the research team is intent on achieving. Researchers suspected that administering the vaccine more directly into the bloodstream, accelerating its path to the liver, might produce an even stronger response. Further study conducted by collaborating authors from the Vaccine Research Center at the NIH found that administering the vaccine intravenously produced a very high level of immune response in animal subjects.

"Our hope is that we can optimize the delivery of this vaccine to prevent and eliminate malaria on a global level," says Dr. Lyke. She and her colleagues are already at work designing new studies to find the best way to administer the vaccine.

Scientists consider a whole parasite vaccine to be the "holy grail" of malaria vaccine research. Such a vaccine is believed to be more capable of broadly protecting people against the scores of varying strains of malaria. Historically, vaccines are comprised of various proteins found in the virus or, in the case of malaria, the parasite. Recombinant vaccines those comprised of various components of the parasite often are narrowly protectiv
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Contact: Karen Robinson
karobinson@som.umaryland.edu
410-706-7590
University of Maryland Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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