By Jessica Berman
A genetically engineered malaria vaccine has been shown to prevent the disease in mice, researchers say. The findings offer hope of halting the illness in humans, as well as stopping transmission of the mosquito-borne disease.
Researchers at the Center for Infectious Disease Research (CIDR) at the University of Washington, in conjunction with the Fred Hutchison Cancer Research Center, have developed a vaccine that uses the entire malaria-causing parasite — called P. falciparum — to stimulate a protective immune response.
"[Removing] these three genes make sure the parasite cannot develop to the next stage of infection, which occurs in the blood, which causes all of the disease and death associated with malaria," said Stefan Kappe, Affiliate Professor in the UW Department of Global Health and CIDR, one of the main authors of the study, published Wednesday in the journal Science Translational Medicine.