Friday March 22, 2019

Novel Experimental Vaccine Offering Hope Against Malaria

A year later, the vaccinated non-human primates still had immunity against malaria, while eight control animals that were not vaccinated did not

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Malaria, Vaccines
This new type of bed net can help prevent malaria: Lancet. (VOA)

An experimental new malaria vaccine is offering potentially long-lasting immunity against the persistent parasite that sickens hundreds of millions of people each year, a study suggests.

Most vaccines are designed to encourage the human body to respond to invading, disease-causing pathogens by creating antibodies that disable those pathogens.

However, the new vaccine takes a different approach by using a weakened form of a common herpes virus – cytomegalovirus, or CMV – that infects most people without causing the disease.

This new vaccine reduced the malaria-causing parasite’s release from the liver and into the blood of infected rhesus macaques by 75 to 80 per cent, reported the paper published in the journal PLOS ONE.

“The problem with most vaccines is that their effectiveness is often short-lived,” said lead author Klaus Fruh, professor at the Oregon Health and Science University in the US.

More people die of malaria than anything else in the world.
More people die of malaria than anything else in the world.

“Our cytomegalovirus-based vaccine platform can create and keep immunity for life. With further research and development, it could offer a lifetime of protection against malaria,” Fruh added.

Malaria is a serious and sometimes fatal disease caused by Plasmodium parasites, which are spread to humans through mosquito bites.

It can cause high fevers, shaking chills, flu-like illness and, in the worst cases, death.

Worldwide, 216 million people were infected with malaria in 2016, leading to 445,000 deaths.

Fruh and his team weaved tiny bits of their target pathogen into CMV, which is already being used in vaccines being developed to battle HIV and tuberculosis.

Those who receive the resulting, re-engineered CMV vaccine produce memory T-cells that can search for and destroy pathogen-infected cells.

A health service worker takes a blood sample for a malaria test in Dajabon, Dominican Republic, on the border with Haiti, Oct. 6, 2009. A test that doesn't require a needle or blood has won the Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation
A health service worker takes a blood sample for a malaria test in Dajabon, Dominican Republic, on the border with Haiti, Oct. 6, 2009. A test that doesn’t require a needle or blood has won the Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation, VOA

The team developed two different versions of their CMV-based malaria vaccine while using four different proteins made by the Plasmodium parasite.

The resulting vaccines delayed the parasite’s appearance in the blood of 16 infected and vaccinated rhesus macaques by eliminating between 75 and 80 per cent of parasites from the liver.

Also Read- Deficiency of Zinc May up Hypertension

A year later, the vaccinated non-human primates still had immunity against malaria, while eight control animals that were not vaccinated did not.

The CMV vaccine platform has been licensed by San Francisco-based Vir Biotechnology, which plans to lead a human clinical trial for a CMV-based HIV vaccine in 2019.  (IANS)

Next Story

Instagram, Facebook to Remove Vaccine Misinformation Content: Report

Since both the social networking platforms are heavily used by advertisers, ads found to include fake news on vaccinations would be rejected outright

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Instagram
Instagram app logo is displayed on a mobile screen in Los Angeles. VOA

As part of their effort to reduce the spread of “vaccine hoaxes” on its platform, Facebook and its photo-messaging app Instagram will no longer allow advertisements that include misinformation about vaccines.

The company has decided to take action against accounts which are promoting vaccine hoaxes that have been publicly identified by the World Health Organisation and Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, US.

“We want to give people more accurate information from expert organisations about vaccines at the top of results for related searches, on Pages discussing the topic, and on invitations to join groups about the topic,” Monika Bickert, Vice President, Global Policy Management, Facebook wrote in a blog-post on Thursday.

As part of the initiative, the Facebook Pages that spread misinformation about vaccinations in News Feed and Search would not be included in recommendations or predictions.

facebook
Facebook: The platform allows for different types of content, which makes it ideal for diverse, interactive and entertaining content.

On Instagram, recommended content on vaccinations that could contain wrong information would not show up in the Explore tab and hashtag pages.

Since both the social networking platforms are heavily used by advertisers, ads found to include fake news on vaccinations would be rejected outright.

Also Read- Google Rolls out ‘Continued Conversations’ Feature on its Google Assistant

“For ad accounts that continue to violate our policies, we may take further action, such as disabling the ad account,” Bickert said.

“We are exploring ways to share educational information about vaccines when people come across misinformation on this topic,” she added. (IANS)