Tulane partners with Indian company for malaria vaccine

Tulane University’s School of Public Health and Tropical Diseases recently announced that, along with an Indian company as a partner, it will develop and test a vaccine against malaria.

Nirbhay Kumar, chairman of Tulane’s Department of Tropical Medicine, said that the vaccine will be given to those that live in areas heavily infected with malaria, the Times Picayune reports. The scientists' target will not be the mosquito, however, but the parasite it carries.

Tulane will be working with Gennova Biopharmaceuticals of India on the vaccine. The project is underwritten by the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative for the next two years. PATH was founded with a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Kumar told the Times Picayune that the group will not comment on the amount of money involved in the project, but says that more will be added if the project shows promise.

The work will be conducted at Tulane University. As many as five extra people will be hired, according to Kumar.

Although the vaccine will not prevent the disease in people bitten by infected mosquitoes, Kumar believes it should not be too difficult to persuade people to get the inoculation.

"All you have to do is tell a mother, 'If you don't do this, your children will be infected,' and she will take the vaccine," Kumar said, according to the Times Picayune. "As transmission goes down, everybody will benefit. We are going to flush out the parasites from the population."