SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2016

Study of new malaria vaccine shows promise

Scientists from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) announced on Monday improvements to an experimental vaccine designed to spur production of antibodies against the AMA1 malaria parasite protein.

The new candidate delivers AMA1 protein together with part of another parasite protein, RON2.

The AMA1-RON2 complex is used to attach malaria parasites to red blood cells. The vaccine, when injected into mice, prompted an antibody response that protected the mice from lethal forms of the disease.

Additionally, antibodies produced in response to the AMA1-RON2 vaccine offered protection when administered to non-vaccinated mice as well.

The research suggests that the method could be used in testing on human malaria vaccines.

The original AMA1-targeting experimental vaccine was developed more than a decade ago by NIAID scientists. The vaccine displayed promise in non-human experiments and in early-stage clinical trials. When human trials were conducted in malaria-endemic countries, however, the results were disappointing.

The research was conducted by Louis Miller, M.D., and Prakash Srinivasan, Ph.D., of the Laboratory of Malaria and Vector Research at NIAID.

NIAID conducts and supports global research at the National Institute of Health. The institution looks to study the causes of infectious and immune-mediated diseases. It works to improve the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of these illnesses.