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Tuesday, 8 October 2013

World's first malaria vaccine close- Great news!

The world's first vaccine for the deadly disease malaria could be close, according to experts.

A mosquito

British medical company GlaxoSmithKline trialled the drug on more than 15 thousand children in Africa and found it reduced the number of cases by half.
Malaria is the biggest cause of death and illness in the world. It is spread by mosquitoes and and kills around 600,000 people every year.
The company's now seeking approval to produce the medicine on mass.
Scientists think a vaccine to make people immune to malaria would help eliminate the illness.
Bed nets, insect repellents and destroying mosquito breeding grounds all help too - but a vaccine could be more effective.
Many bites
It has been known for several decades that exposure to mosquitoes treated with radiation can protect against malaria.
Anopheles mosquito
Malaria kills about 600,000 people each year and infects more than 200 million

However, studies have shown that it takes more than 1,000 bites from the insects over time to build up a high level of immunity, making it an impractical method of widespread protection.
Instead, a US biotech company called Sanaria has taken lab-grown mosquitoes, irradiated them and then extracted the malaria-causing parasite (Plasmodium falciparum), all under sterile conditions.
These living but weakened parasites are then counted and placed in vials, where they can then be injected directly into a patient's bloodstream. This vaccine candidate is called PfSPZ.
To carry out the Phase-1 clinical trial, the researchers looked at a group of 57 volunteers, none of whom had had malaria before.
Of these, 40 received different doses of the vaccine, while 17 did not. They were then all exposed to the malaria-carrying mosquitoes.
The researchers found that for the participants not given any vaccine, and those given low doses, almost all became infected with malaria.
However for the small group given the highest dosage, only three of the 15 patients became infected after exposure to malaria.
From CBBC newsround/ BBC Health


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