New Malaria Vaccine Shows 85% Efficacy in Mice

Use of Wolbachia Bacteria For Dengue Control
  • A new vaccine developed against Malaria by Indian Institute of Science contains live sporozites (an immature stage of the parasite Plasmodium berghei ) in which the gene for the production of ‘heme’ protein, which is necessary for its survival in the host’s liver, has been removed. This appeared to boost the mice’s immune system against the disease, most likely by initiating a T cell response.
  • These experiments have shown 80-85% efficacy in mice, and will be tested on other animals before publishing the results.
  • 2 breakthroughs that helped the research:
    • Although the parasite derives its nutrition from host blood, it has the ability to produce its own heme.
    • Identification of all the genes involved in the production of the heme protein, and the discovery that these genes play an important role in the early stages of infection, when the organism enters host’s liver.
  • Inefficiency of the drug and the ability of the parasite to develop resistance against drugs has been a major hurdle to the development of vaccine against malaria which affects millions around the world.
  • One other vaccine being developed uses attenuated irradiated (weakened) sporozoites.
  • RTSS vaccine is based on a protein from the sporozite, and has shown a 30 to 50% efficacy in human trials.
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Exams Perspective:

  1. What are vaccines?
  2. What is Malaria and What is Heme?
  3. What is a sporozite?
  4. What is IISc?