Human trials for malaria vaccine set to begin

Human trials for a purported breakthrough Australian malaria drug are scheduled to begin in six months.

Researchers from Australia’s Griffith University have successfully tested their patented malaria vaccine on mice, according to The vaccine protected the mice from two different strains of the disease, which infects up to 500 million people in 100 countries every year.

"This parasite kills more children than any other single disease; it's a major, major killer," Griffith University's Professor Michael Good, the lead researcher on the project, said, reports. "So it has enormous significance."

Good already has plans to manufacture the vaccine at a facility on Australia’s Gold Coast should the trials succeed.

Although the development of the vaccine took years to complete, Good said the technology used to manufacture it commercially is “dead simple.”

"There's no point making a vaccine if it's going to be expensive, because this is a disease that occurs in the poorest parts of the world," Good said, reports. "My view is that this vaccine will be incredibly cheap … The only issue will be, does it work as well in humans as it does in mice…We're confident about it."

Good has been working on malaria since his landed his first postdoctoral job in the United States in 1985. Working in Africa led him to take a different approach to creating a vaccine, one that targets the whole parasite instead of single proteins.

Good’s team found a way to effectively paralyze the malaria parasite and then inject test animals with a low dose, which prevents them from experiencing symptoms.

Goods 13 member team from Griffith University is also working on potential vaccines for group A streptococcus. Good’s colleagues are also working on a drug to treat the Hendra virus.