Australian research involving Monash University has discovered the secret behind stopping malaria parasites in the liver, leading to a new vaccine strategy.
With more than 200 million cases and almost half-a-million deaths a year worldwide, mostly of children under five (according to the WHO), there is an urgent need for an effective malaria vaccine.
The team of scientists, co-led by Associate Professor Irina Caminschi from the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute and the University of Melbourne Professor Bill Heath identified a new type of immune cell that stays in the liver – guarding against malaria infection.
Fellow researcher on the study, Dr Daniel Fernandez-Ruiz from the University of Melbourne at the Doherty Institute, said malaria infections start in the liver before travelling further in the body.
“Once bitten by a malaria-carrying mosquito, the parasite quickly makes its way to the liver. After a few days, the infection progresses into the blood, which causes life-threatening symptoms,” Dr Fernandez-Ruiz explained.
The team used this research to develop a new vaccine method that is completed with two injections.
“This discovery opens a new door for the design and development of the most efficient malaria vaccine to date,” Professor Caminschi said.
Read more about their findings here. [Story credit: Monash University newsroom]
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