World's first malaria vaccine may be within reach

QUEENSLAND researchers may not be far off the world's first malaria vaccine after successfully creating immunity in animals.

Now the Griffith University researchers are calling for human volunteers to participate in a trial of the potentially revolutionary vaccination.

Professor Michael Good, from the university's Institute for Glycomics, said the research team had taken a different path to trials before them and focused on the whole malaria parasite rather than single antigens.

Malaria parasites were treated in a test tube with a chemical that blocked the parasite's ability to multiply and when given to mice they did not get sick.

"To our great surprise we found that those animals were then protected, not just against the same strain of malaria parasite they were treated with, but against every strain we exposed them to," Prof Good said.

"While this study was undertaken in laboratory animals, we believe these results provide a compelling rationale for testing a vaccine targeting human malaria parasites."

The vaccine has so far protected against multiple strains of malaria.

Prof Good said the vaccine would be very cheap to make.

There are about 247 million cases of malaria worldwide.

The mosquito-borne disease comes in multiple strains, the most severe being cerebral malaria.

Griffith University is now calling for south-east Queensland-based volunteers to take part in a clinical trial.

Anyone interested can contact clinical trial leader via email d.stanisic@griffith.edu.au.



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