Dr David Cavanagh, Senior Lecturer for The Institute of Immunology and Infection Research at The University of Edinburgh told The Journal: “We identified this protein, which is found on the surface of blood stage malaria parasites, as a target of antibody responses in African children naturally exposed to malaria by their exposure to infected mosquitoes. Importantly, we observed that the children who had antibodies in their blood to this protein were less likely to become ill with malaria than children who lacked these specific antibodies. Antibodies to other parasite proteins did not correlate with this protection.”
It is hoped that the RTS,S will combine with the new vaccine in order to fight the disease’s ability to produce new strains of itself, each having to be dealt with by the human immune system differently. The study has already proved successful on animals and has subsequently applied for trials to be next carried out on humans. ThinkMarketing’
The bad news is that, unfortunately the vaccine could take up to 10 years to be developed. Human trials are extremely expensive and funding is difficult to achieve. Dr Cavanagh said: “RTS,S has been in development for over 20 years, so we are at the beginning of a very long road. It can take 10 years or more for a prototype vaccine to reach the people who need it." Dr Cavanagh also stressed that the vaccine would “need to be free, especially in Africa where the people who need it are living on one or two dollars per day. That requires BIG money from governments.”
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