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Filipino discovers new vaccine vs. malaria

First Posted 09:36:00 01/19/2010

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MANILA, Philippines?Rhoel Dinglasan, an entomologist and biologist from Johns Hopkins University, is rocking the science world with his discovery of a new vaccine against malaria.

It prevents mosquitoes from spreading malaria if they bite someone who?s been inoculated with the vaccine, and brings the medical world a step closer to eradicating the disease.

Dinglasan?s discovery was recently featured in the Health and Science section of TIME magazine. Here are excerpts from the article.

?Traditional vaccines work by introducing a killed or weakened version of a disease into the body, where the immune system spots it and cranks out antibodies against it. Then, if a wild strain of the pathogen comes along later?one that has the power to sicken or kill?the body is ready for it. The new approach is different. Developed by Rhoel Dinglasan, an entomologist and biologist at Johns Hopkins University Hospital, it would instead work within the mosquito gut.

Dinglasan has found an antigen, called AnAPN1, that causes humans to create antibodies that prevent transmission of malaria by mosquitoes. Get enough of these antibodies into mosquitoes, and you lock the disease up there and prevent it from infecting us.

Sounds good, but how do you implement such a strategy? You can hardly vaccinate the mosquitoes themselves. Instead, you put the AnAPN1 into their food source: us. A mosquito that bites an inoculated person would pick up the antibodies and then be sidelined from the malaria-transmission game.

The new vaccine is not the first TBV attempted. Previous versions used not AnAPN1 but parts of the malaria parasite to generate human immune responses.

Unfortunately, two vaccine candidates using that approach unexpectedly caused some skin disorders when tested in humans in 2008, prompting a need for further research. And even without that side effect, using antigens from the malaria parasite would require multiple vaccines to fight the many different strains of malaria.?


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