New malaria vaccine depends on ... mosquito bites

Feb 16, 2011 By Keith Brannon
Professor Nirbhay Kumar will produce and test a novel malaria vaccine to inoculate mosquitoes when they bite people.

The same menace that spreads malaria – the mosquito bite – could help wipe out the deadly disease, according to researchers working on a new vaccine at Tulane University.

The PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative (MVI), established in 1999 through a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, announced today a collaboration with Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine and India’s Gennova Biopharmaceuticals Ltd. to produce and test a novel vaccine that aims to inoculate mosquitoes when they bite people.

The vaccine would work by triggering an immune response in people so they produce antibodies that target a protein the malaria parasite needs to reproduce within a mosquito.

Malaria, which kills nearly 800,000 people every year worldwide, is caused by a microscopic parasite that alternates between human and mosquito hosts at various stages of its lifecycle. Once a mosquito bites a vaccinated person, the antibodies would neutralize the protein essential for malaria parasite’s reproduction, effectively blocking the parasite’s – and the mosquito’s – ability to infect others.

The vaccine relies on a protein — known as Pfs48/45 — which is very difficult to synthetically produce, says Nirbhay Kumar, professor of tropical medicine at Tulane.

“With MVI’s support we can now work with Gennova to produce sufficient quantity of the protein and develop a variety of vaccine formulations that can be tested in animals to determine which one give us the strongest immune response,” Kumar says.

Such transmission blocking vaccines, though not yet widely tested in humans, are attracting widespread interest due to their potential to be used in conjunction with more traditional malaria vaccines and other interventions—such as malaria drugs and bed nets—to make gradual elimination and even eradication of the disease a reality.

“We’re investing in developing transmission blocking malaria vaccines to support two long-term goals: introducing an 80 percent efficacious malaria vaccine by the year 2025 and eventually eradicating malaria altogether,” says Dr. Christian Loucq, director of MVI. “A that breaks the cycle of transmission will be important to our success.”

Explore further: Heaven scent: Finding may help restore fragrance to roses

Related Stories

Vaccine blocks malaria transmission in lab experiments

Jul 22, 2009

Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute have for the first time produced a malarial protein (Pfs48/45) in the proper conformation and quantity to generate a significant immune response in mice and non-human ...

Gates: $258 million for malaria research

Oct 31, 2005

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has given $258 million in malaria research grants. The foundation says malaria kills an estimated 2,000 African children each day and takes the lives of more than 1 million people wor ...

Recommended for you

Study on pesticides in lab rat feed causes a stir

Jul 02, 2015

French scientists published evidence Thursday of pesticide contamination of lab rat feed which they said discredited historic toxicity studies, though commentators questioned the analysis.

International consortium to study plant fertility evolution

Jul 02, 2015

Mark Johnson, associate professor of biology, has joined a consortium of seven other researchers in four European countries to develop the fullest understanding yet of how fertilization evolved in flowering plants. The research, ...

Making the biofuels process safer for microbes

Jul 02, 2015

A team of investigators at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Michigan State University have created a process for making the work environment less toxic—literally—for the organisms that do the heavy ...

Why GM food is so hard to sell to a wary public

Jul 02, 2015

Whether commanding the attention of rock star Neil Young or apparently being supported by the former head of Greenpeace, genetically modified food is almost always in the news – and often in a negative ...

The hidden treasure in RNA-seq

Jul 01, 2015

Michael Stadler and his team at the Friedrich Miescher institute for Biomedical Research (FMI) have developed a novel computational approach to analyze RNA-seq data. By comparing intronic and exonic RNA reads, ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

hush1
not rated yet Feb 26, 2011
This would not give any protective benefits to the individual inoculated.

If you do not state these eleven words, you jeopardize the entire endeavor and all those associated with the undertaking.

Eleven words. Deliberate.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.