Malaria vaccine tested in clinical trial led by Portuguese scientists
Malaria is a disease transmitted by the bite of the female "Anopheles" mosquito infected with the parasite of the "Plasmodium" type.
According to the World Health Organization, malaria was responsible for the deaths of about 429,000 people in 2015.
On 6 June, a clinical trial to test a new approach to the development of Pb malaria vaccine (PfCS @ UIS4) was initiated in the Netherlands (Rotterdam and Nijmegen).
This will be the first clinical trial in healthy volunteers and results from the collaboration between the team led by Miguel Prudêncio (Researcher at the Institute of Molecular Medicine) and the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative (MVI) and the Radboud University Medical Centre (RUMC) in the Netherlands.
According to Miguel Prudêncio, this trial will use "a version of malaria responsible for rodent infection, known as Plasmodium berghei (harmless to humans), with the aim of inducing protection against the disease in humans". To that effect, genetic engineering processes were used, and the gene encoding the parasite protein that is much more aggressive and responsible for human infection, Plasmodium faciparum, was inserted into the genome of the rodent parasite.
It is expected that the immune system recognizes the parasite and produces a response against the real aggressor.
This clinical trial will involve 30 healthy adult volunteers and its results are expected to be known in 2018.
More information here and here
Image credits: IMM
Sources: Jornal Expresso and Jornal Diário de Notícias