A disease that wipes out above one million people worldwide, of whom most are children- Malaria, needs no introduction. The scourge, that has given sleepless nights to sufferers, health experts, and strategists worldwide, seems to have met its nemesis in the development of a novel vaccine that seeks to impede the growth of the parasite while it is relying on its host, the mosquito.
Work is gaining momentum on a malaria vaccine which is designed to hamper the development of the disease-causing parasite, during its stay in the mosquito's body. The vaccine is equipped to aim at the Pfs25, a protein which is crucial to the parasite's development, while it is residing in the mosquito's gut. The antibodies from a vaccinated person will get passed on to the mosquito, when it bites a person, which would gain entry into the mosquito's body and smother its growth.
The researchers are very hopeful of this vaccine as it is capable of completely wiping out malaria from many regions. But the vaccine may not be equipped to offset or reduce the impact of the disease in a vaccinated person. Many other types of malaria vaccines are in the pipeline, but none of them are legally permitted for use. Most of them are suited to deactivate the malaria parasite, Plasmodium, after it has entered the human body.
Dr Elias Zerhouni, director of the National Institutes of Health, said: "The experimental malaria vaccine shows great promise for combating a terrible disease that exacts a devastating toll on the world's children. Until now all other vaccines that have been developed have offered the individual some form of protection. In this case, the individual has got to make a sacrifice in order to protect the community, and that might make it very difficult to sell."