Lab will pay to infect people with malaria

March 6, 2008

Scientists in Seattle plan to pay people to catch malaria in order to test the safety and efficacy of new vaccines.

The Seattle Biomedical Research Institute and the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative are collaborating to build a Human Challenge Center at SBRI to test new interventions against the deadly malaria parasite. "This center will allow us to greatly increase our ability to evaluate whether a new vaccine formulation should advance to testing in clinical trials in malaria-endemic populations," Dr. Christian Loucq of MVI said Wednesday in a statement.

The laboratory's Malaria Clinical Trials Center will be one of only a handful of facilities of its kind in the world. Volunteers inoculated with a malaria vaccine candidate will be deliberately infected with malaria through the bite of malaria-infected mosquitoes to assess whether or not the candidate vaccine can prevent or delay malaria infection.

The Seattle Times said the strain of malaria used in the testing is a cloned strain that can be quickly cured. More than 900 people have participated in similar tests at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research. There are also labs in Britain and the Netherlands, the newspaper said.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

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