Sept. 9, 2011, 1:38 p.m.
A team of researchers led by Stephen Hoffman of Sanaria Inc. has created a candidate malaria vaccine against Plasmodium falciparum, the most deadly of the malaria parasites, using live but weakened parasites that "represents a potentially encouraging anti-malaria strategy," an NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases press release reports. The findings of the research, which "was conducted by scientists at the Vaccine Research Center (VRC) of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health, working in concert with a large team of collaborators," were published in Thursday's online issue of Science, the press release states (9/8).
"An effective malaria vaccine ... must prevent infection in greater than 80 percent of recipients for six to 24 months in order to be suitable for elimination campaigns and protecting travelers," but no such vaccine currently exists, according to a PR Newswire press release (9/8). "Sanaria's vaccine aims for 90 percent protection or even higher," says Hoffman, a former U.S. Navy researcher, who added, "Past results suggest that this target is possible," according to Science. "A new clinical trial in which the vaccine will be given intravenously to 51 volunteers is scheduled to start next month at VCR; another trial in Tanzania is on the drawing board," Science reports (Enserink, 9/8).