Malaria vaccine in the works?

Plasmodium falciparum, the parasite that causes malaria.: Photo courtesy NIH
Plasmodium falciparum, the parasite that causes malaria.: Photo courtesy NIH

Malaria is one of the most deadly diseases in the world. Spread by mosquitoes, each year it kills more than 1 million people, and makes 300 million seriously ill, mostly children, mostly in Africa.

For years researchers have tried to find a vaccine that will prevent people from contracting the disease. The problem is, the parasite enters the bloodstream at a particular phase in its life cycle. Collecting the parasite at that stage is tricky, because it lives in the salivary glands of the mosquito.

But now a research lab in suburban Maryland has figured out a way to collect the parasites. They breed their own highly infectious mosquitoes, which they keep locked behind five doors so none escape. Once the parasite has reached the proper stage, workers kill the mosquitoes and extract the parasite.

After they collect the parasite, they disable it and render it harmless. It can then be injected into a person. The body recognizes the parasite as a foreign body and produces antibodies to fight it. These antibodies stay in the bloodstream, protecting the person from any real parasites they may later pick up.

Early test indicate the vaccine could be up to 90% effective, and protect against malaria for 10 months or more. Human trials are to begin next year.

You can learn more about malaria in The Science Museum’s on-line exhibit.

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

Christina's picture
Christina says:


posted on Tue, 10/30/2007 - 3:59pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

wow !!!!!!!!!!!

posted on Fri, 11/02/2007 - 10:33am
wes's picture
wes says:

Thats alot of people mesquitors kills. but i dont see some contries have an isue whth malari i dontsee the us doing anything. ugada has a big promblem with malaria i dont

posted on Fri, 11/23/2007 - 11:56am
Gene's picture
Gene says:

The Yahoo News link in the post above appears to no longer be working, but here's an update from the NY Times.

posted on Tue, 12/11/2007 - 11:29am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

this was like the best so cool

posted on Tue, 12/11/2007 - 1:34pm
Amphlet's picture
Amphlet says:

Actually there is no proof that vaccines actually work. 56% of people who get the floo vaccine still get the floo. That just about the same percent of the TOTAL people who get the vaccine. Also if you get the floo vaccine (or any other vaccine that has mercury in it (yes, the floo vaccine has mercury in it) ) you chance of contracting althiemers (I know I spelled it wrong) goes way up (like 300% higher).
If they could get a real vaccine though, it would be really cool!
Just some random facts for yah.

posted on Thu, 12/27/2007 - 12:16pm
Gene's picture
Gene says:

Nope. The flu vaccine is 80%-90% effective. You can learn all about it in the new exhibit Disease Detectives, opening at The Science Museum in January.

posted on Thu, 12/27/2007 - 2:27pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

I don't think the vaccine will work. Many vaccines have already been tried and none has worked. What makes this one so special?

However, a malaria vaccine would be very helpful. Good luck!!!!!!!

posted on Sun, 03/02/2008 - 12:31pm
bella451001's picture

that would be a marvellous job if its done ............ SUCCESSFULLY!!!:)

posted on Sun, 05/02/2010 - 1:00am

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