A Malaria Vaccine May Be Available Within A Couple Of Years
We have all heard of malaria and we are thankful that we do not have it. As far as mosquito-borne diseases are concerned, malaria may be the most deadly of them all. Malaria has been devastating certain regions of the world for a long time. It is rare to hear anybody mention the possibility of a malaria vaccine. Malaria just seems like one of those mosquito-borne diseases that will be around forever. Luckily, this may not be the case, as researchers in Australia have recently made progress towards developing a malaria vaccine.
Researchers from the Melbourne independent medical research center have discovered that carbohydrates are heavily involved with the malaria parasites and the way it infects human hosts. Experts have always been under the impression that the malaria parasite only uses proteins to infect humans. However, researcher Justin Boddey has found that this is not true, and carbohydrates also play a role. In order for a malaria parasite to infect a human host it must tag certain proteins with a carbohydrate. This was not previously known to medical science. This is part of the reason why previous attempts at developing a malaria vaccine failed. When medical scientists worked on malaria vaccines in the past, they only focused on replicating the proteins that the parasite infects. Now Boddey knows that these early attempts only resulted in an immune response that failed to reach the source of infection. While the protein structure was mimicked perfectly by scientists, the proteins would not reach their target because the scientists had not added on the carbohydrates.
Now Boddey, and other researchers who have reviewed his research, want to develop proteins that are constructed along with the carbohydrates. Boddey believes that most of the work has already been done by past researchers, and adding a carbohydrate molecule onto a protein will be easy, as this sort of chemical engineering is already being done. Developing a malaria vaccine would be revolutionary, as more than two hundred million people are infected malaria each year.
Do you believe that a malaria vaccine could be produced within two years? How would the world change if malaria was no longer a debilitating disease?