WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 28, 2016

Indian scientists research malaria vaccine

Indian scientists recently discovered key antigens they say will pave the way for a new malaria vaccine against the bacterium Plasmodium falciparum.

The scientists from the International Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology in New Delhi recently published the results of their research in the journal Infection & Immunity, which is published by the American Society of Microbiology, HindustanTimes.com reports.

The ICGEB researchers tested a large number of antibody combinations for their ability to provoke an immune response and their potential to inhibit an invasion by P. falciparum. They were able to identify a combination of three parasite antigens that elicited the proper response against several strains of the bacteria.

"We have devised a novel approach that efficiently blocks the malaria parasite and leads to its neutralization," Deepak Gaur, principal investigator in the Malaria Group, ICGEB, said, according to HindustanTimes.com. "Based on this study, we have also filed a PCT application for the award of an International patent."

Gaur's partner, Chetan Chitis, believes the discovery will yield a new vaccine.

"Our study identifies key parasite antigens that can form the basis of an effective malaria vaccine," Chitis said, HindustanTimes.com reports. "The next step is to devise a strategy to deliver these antigens to elicit potent immune responses in humans."

The study was funded with contributions from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Vaccine Grand Challenge Program.