Australian researchers close in on malaria vaccine

July 2, 2013

Australian researchers said Tuesday they were closing in on a potential vaccine against malaria, with a study showing their treatment had protected mice against several strains of the disease.

Michael Good, from Queensland's Griffith University, said the vaccine led to naturally existing white blood cells, or T-cells, attacking the potentially deadly malaria parasite which lives in .

"A single vaccination induced profound immunity to different malaria parasite species," the study, published Tuesday in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, states.

Good said the team's research was focused on inducing the white blood cells to attack the parasite, whatever the .

"The T-cells (), when they're induced to kill malaria, can recognise proteins throughout the parasite, even internal proteins in the parasite," he told the ABC.

"So that's where we think the novel aspect is: we've been able to induce a form of which can recognise molecules in the parasite which are present in every single strain."

Good said he believed it was the first time that a vaccine had been shown to protect against more that two strains of malaria in mice.

The vaccine was expected to be cheap and easy to manufacture, he added, meaning that—if applicable to humans—it could have a significant impact in poor countries where malaria kills thousands each year.

"But we don't want to get ahead of ourselves; we want to demonstrate, first and foremost, that the vaccine is effective in humans," Good told the broadcaster.

In 2010 an estimated 219 million people were infected with the disease and some 660,000 died, most of them African children aged under five, the UN's World Health Organisation said in December.

A study published in the Lancet in February 2012 said the global death toll was more likely to be around 1.2 million a year.

Explore further: Improving human immunity to malaria

More information: Cross-species malaria immunity induced by chemically attenuated parasites, J Clin Invest. doi:10.1172/JCI66634

Related Stories

Improving human immunity to malaria

August 1, 2012

The deadliest form of malaria is caused the protozoan Plasmodium falciparum. During its life-cycle in human blood, the parasite P. falciparum expresses unique proteins on the surface on infected blood cells.

Malaria's severity reset by mosquito

May 30, 2013

(Medical Xpress)—For the first time, researchers have proven that the way in which malaria is transmitted to the host affects how severe the resulting infection will be.

Researchers reveal malaria's deadly grip

June 5, 2013

Researchers at the University of Copenhagen, in collaboration with Seattle Biomedical Research Institute, the University of Oxford, NIMR Tanzania and Retrogenix LTD, have identified how malaria parasites growing inside red ...

Recommended for you

Fertilization discovery: Do sperm wield tiny harpoons?

August 26, 2015

Could the sperm harpoon the egg to facilitate fertilization? That's the intriguing possibility raised by the University of Virginia School of Medicine's discovery that a protein within the head of the sperm forms spiky filaments, ...

Research identifies protein that regulates body clock

August 26, 2015

New research into circadian rhythms by researchers at the University of Toronto Mississauga shows that the GRK2 protein plays a major role in regulating the body's internal clock and points the way to remedies for jet lag ...

Anti-aging tricks from dietary supplement seen in mice

August 21, 2015

In human cells, shortened telomeres, the protective caps at the ends of chromosomes, are both a sign of aging and contribute to it. Scientists at Emory University School of Medicine have found that the dietary supplement ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.