New malaria vaccine released
Queensland’s Griffith University has unveiled a new malaria vaccine that promises protection from all known strains of the deadly disease.
For the opening of the new Institute for Glycomics’ Laboratory of Vaccines for the Developing World, Griffith University released their new patented and trademarked vaccine, called PlasProtecT, which will begin Phase 1 human trials within the next 12 months.
“Malaria kills one million children per year, most of whom are in the developing world,” said lead researcher Professor Michael Good. “Our approach to vaccine development could lead to a significant reduction in the global burden of malaria.
“Furthermore the vaccine will be very cheap to produce, which would therefore increase the uptake in poor countries where it is needed most.”
The new vaccine contains whole malaria parasites that have been put to sleep using a unique chemical treatment that affects some of their DNA. They are then injected in ultra-low doses in order to provoke an immune response that will protect against all strains of malaria. According to lead researcher Professor Michael Good, previous attempts to find a solution for attacking the malaria parasite have proven elusive.
Medical science has been trying to develop a malaria vaccine for years but has had no success until now.
“We have observed very strong immune responses that can protect from multiple strains and species of the parasite, thus potentially overcoming the major hurdle to developing a vaccine,” he said.
During the Phase 1 trials, doses of the unconscious parasites will be administered to volunteers. Their presence will stimulate the development of T-cells that will then seek out and destroy malaria parasites from any subsequent exposures.
The PlasProtecT vaccine will be developed at the Laboratory of Vaccines for the Developing World, on Queensland’s Gold Coast.
Prof Good’s team will include 13 post-doctoral researchers, assistants and students working in collaboration with a team of Australian and international researchers.