Maryland-based Sanaria’s PfSPZ vaccine is a new kind of malaria vaccine that offer 100 percent protection, researchers said Thursday.
The vaccine contains live purified malaria parasites and incorporated into a vaccine which must be injected to the veins several times, each shot about a month apart.
This vaccine is complicated to make because scientists have to dissect the mosquito’s salivary glands to get the parasites that cause malaria and weakened so that they cannot cause illness. The company has 12 to 15 dissectors who each can tease apart about 150 mosquitoes every hour.
The same vaccine administered into the patient’s skin was tested two years ago but only showed protection to two of 44 volunteers. However, the latest trial injected into the blood stream protected six volunteers who received the highest dosage of 135,000 sporozoites per injection in a five-shots regimen, according to the results published in the Science journal.
While the testing is still in the early stages, scientists believe the vaccine can be used to eliminate malaria. Within three to five years, this vaccine will be a commercial reality.
Six of nine volunteers who received four shots of the highest dose were fully protected. The study includes 57 people, with 40 who receiving 17 controls and varying doses of the vaccine.
While the findings that the new malaria vaccine could offer 100 percent protection, co-author Robert Seder at the National Institute of Allergy, and Infectious Diseases told that Sanaria’s PfSPZ vaccine needed more study.
Stephen Hoffman, lead researcher and the chief executive of Sanaria is also teaming with Harvard University engineers to automate the mosquito dissecting process.
Malaria infects 200 million people in 2010 and killed 660 thousand lives, mostly children in the African region, according to World Health Organization.
A decade ago, a frontline drug against Malaria called artemisinin, has prevented 25 percent of deaths. Now, a scientist discovered that it is no longer effective due to the bacteria’s resistance to the drug.
Malaria is a mosquito-borne disease caused by 5, 000-gene parasite, which is why a single vaccine like RTS,S would never eliminate malaria, according to Hoffman.
Mosquitoes love the smell of humans, according to The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Mosquitoes land on worn socks, stockings, and clothes. The Anopheles gambiae, a malaria carrying mosquitoes is attracted to the odor of human, especially the smell of ammonia and lactic acid when we sweat. They use their olfactory nerves to identify the 350 odor molecules from the scents humans emit.
Malaria is a fatal disease, but it is preventable and curable. Early detection is vital for the survival of the victim. The Journal of Infectious Disease published a research about a new highly sensitive blood test called LAMP, that detects even the lowest levels of malaria parasites in the body could make a dramatic difference in efforts to tackle the disease in the UK and across the world. LAMP identifies hotspots of malaria infection and can be mopped up quickly through a combination of drug treatment, house spraying, and distribution of bed nets.
The LAMP or loop mediated isothermal amplification was used in London Laboratories, and now in malaria endemic countries. It is a highly efficient method in detecting low level malaria infection. It is more accurate than PCR or polymerase chain reaction, and it is a lot cheaper, but it requires the use of specialized laboratory equipment, reagents, and trained experts.
LAMP is simple, and can be performed by a non specialist worker, which takes less than an hour for the whole process. LAMP requires blood sample and placed in a test tube with a reactive powder and heated. The test tube glows green if parasites are present. It is now commercially available.
Written by: Janet Grace Ortigas